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Reply with quote  #1 

I'm currently taking a World Civilization class, and my professor just started to cover the Roman Empire; specifically, the origin of Christianity, how it spread, and who is Jesus. This is what he said thus far on Jesus, Christianity, and the Bible:

 

1. The accounts of Jesus were written 30-60 years after Jesus' death. He said this with a leery expression on his face.

 

2. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John used each other as sources. Matthew is the easiest to read because it's the newest and thus had the luxury of having the other 3 as sources. He added that, yes, Matthew, Mark, etc., did use other sources besides each other, but were nevertheless mostly parroting what the others were saying. He said all of this with that same leery expression on his face.

 

3. Jesus was crucified by the Romans and the Christians tried to blame the death of Jesus on the Jews. That was the gist of what he said anyway. He did give a reason why the Christians did this, but I was falling asleep at this point.

 

4. Jesus never claimed he was God.

 

5. Jesus lived his life mostly unnoticed by his contemporaries.

 

6. There are no first-hand accounts of Jesus found in the Bible or elsewhere.

 

7. Jesus was a Jew. He said this as though this was something new.

 

8. He told us that he was only interested in the "historic Jesus."

 

9. My professor also told us that there are similarities between Jesus in the Bible and what went on in pagan mythology. Again, he didn't draw and conclusions. He just mentioned that and left it.

 

He didn't draw any conclusions from these statements. He just told us these things while he occasionally paused and gave the class leery and contemplative looks. Perhaps he'll draw some conclusions the next time the class meets, but I doubt it. Regardless, he was certainly trying to lead us down a certain path. Not so much that Jesus never existed--or that he wasn't a good person--but rather Jesus' life was in part embellished, to put it mildly. And he also seemed to be trying to say that the whole Christian movement may have never been Jesus' intention. And lastly, he seemed to be trying to form a portrait of Jesus that was devoid of anything that hinted at the supernatural.

 

What do you guys think?

 

Oh, and if you're interested, here's his blog that I was just able to find. Google is awesome.

 

Blog:

 

http://open.salon.com/blog/glaucus

 

According to his recent blog entry, he doesn't seem to like Christians who think their religion is actually true; and he especially dislikes evangelicals. I would have never guessed it!

Reply with quote  #2 
Here's a good site to look up in regards to the historicity of the Bible and Jesus

http://www.bethinking.org/bible-jesus/
Reply with quote  #3 
He seems to agree with the idea that the Gospel accounts were written before the fall of the temple in 70AD, (otherwise the writers would have included that historic detail as some sort or argument for the superiority of Jesus over the sacrificial ceremonies of the Jews).

Number 4 is particularly interesting for me. To say that Jesus never claimed to be God, would require some sort of evidence I would think. Even if there is no evidence for the belief that Jesus claimed to be God, the absence of any evidence does not entail that Jesus never claimed to be God. At best, he could say that there is no evidence that Jesus claimed to be God.

It is interesting that given he believes the gospel accounts to have been written quite early, that he would say that there is no evidence that Jesus claimed to be God. It is usually agreed that the Pauline letters were written by Paul, and that Paul is telling the truth when he notes that he conversed with the other Apostles. If Paul's christianity was the same as the Apostle's christianity, and Paul's letters teach that Jesus is God -- and also ascribe the property of being divinely inspired to the gospel of Luke, then it would seem that Jesus did in fact claim to be God. Namely, if the Apostles believed that Jesus claimed to be God, and the Apostles were with Jesus, then we do have evidence that Jesus claimed to be God. It would also seem that Luke asked the Apostles of what happened, in order to write the gospel of Luke. If this is so, then Luke contains first-hand accounts of Jesus' life.


kind regards
Reply with quote  #4 
Quote:
Jesus never claimed he was God.

A rather tedious objection this.

He claims to have been the son of man. This term is his own words and was not used in the early church. He is alluding to the prophecy made by the prophet Daniel when he prophesied the coming of the Messiah.
. Daniel 7:9
Quote:
I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.

14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.

We also have passages in the bible where he tells people go and be in peace your sins are forgiven. This again is another claim at messiah ship as the Jews knew only God could forgive sins. It was one of the reasons why the Jews held him to be a blasphemer. (Isaiah 43:25; Mark 2:7).(Mark 2:10).

We even have places in the bible where he asks his own disciples who they think he is and the admit he was the Messiah Mark 8: 27 - 30


You really would expect better from a history professor

Quote:
3. Jesus was crucified by the Romans and the Christians tried to blame the death of Jesus on the Jews.


Can he give me a example of these Christians he talks about?

Quote:
but were nevertheless mostly parroting what the others were saying


Or they could just have witnessed the same event.

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5. Jesus lived his life mostly unnoticed by his contemporaries.


I would not call 40 books with him in it within the first two centuries AD as qualifying as 'Unnoticed'

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6. There are no first-hand accounts of Jesus found in the Bible or elsewhere.


Plainly false again. The New Testament is full of eye witness testimony and off course we have the dozen and a half secular sources on Jesus as well.

Quote:
2 Peter 1 : 16
New International Version (©1984)
We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.


Quote:
8. He told us that he was only interested in the "historic Jesus."


He may give lip service to it but for someone who does not even know about the secular writers that mention Jesus in the first two centuries AD I highly doubt that he has done any serious study on it.

It is as easy as reading a essay or listening to a podcast.

You should show him to Dr. Gary Habermas website. If he really wants to know more about the Historical Jesus then he is the man he should read.
Reply with quote  #5 

I think my inquiry to your Prof would be to ask why he would use certain aspects of the Gospel to substantiate the "historical" Jesus while ignoring other aspects of the Gospel which he contends are made up?  How does he differentiate between the true facts in the Gospel and the more spurious ones?

Reply with quote  #6 

I forgot to mention one thing. My professor also told us that there are similarities between Jesus in the Bible and what went on in pagan mythology. Again, he didn't draw and conclusions. He just mentioned that and left it.

Reply with quote  #7 
Quote:
Originally Posted by troyjs
Number 4 is particularly interesting for me. To say that Jesus never claimed to be God, would require some sort of evidence I would think. Even if there is no evidence for the belief that Jesus claimed to be God, the absence of any evidence does not entail that Jesus never claimed to be God. At best, he could say that there is no evidence that Jesus claimed to be God.


Jesus Christ never claimed to be God, but the Son of God, nor did he claim equality with God, but rater stated that the Father was greater than he was. He did claim however, to be a descent of his Father by calling himself the Son of God. Which was in a unique sense quite true, though not God himself.

Jesus also denied accusations of claiming to be God from the religious leaders. As well as directed any and all forms of worship toward the Father stating it should be Him and Him alone we should worship. And finally, Jesus himself had a God whom he was accountable for, worshiped and prayed to.

And so based on this I'd say there is no way Jesus could be God no matter how we spin it.
Reply with quote  #8 
Quote:
...as well as refused any and all forms of worship

When did Jesus refuse worship exactly?  (cf. Acts 10.25-26)
Reply with quote  #9 
The fact that two faithful, truth-seeking Christians disagree on such a vital issue, is enough for me to conclude God probably doesn't care too much about our specific beliefs in him. A devout Muslim (who could be just as righteous and faithful as any Christian) believes Jesus is less than even what johnBee claims, we then we have historians such as the one referred to in this thread who don't believe anything supernatural about Jesus after studying him for quite some time...would God really make things so confusing for everyone? This isn't to say there is no 'right' view, but it is to say the right view apparently isn't as significant as people would like it to be. At least, God hasn't made it seem to be the case.

My two cents. 
Reply with quote  #10 
Quote:
Originally Posted by saibomb
The fact that two faithful, truth-seeking Christians disagree on such a vital issue, is enough for me to conclude God probably doesn't care too much about our specific beliefs in him. A devout Muslim (who could be just as righteous and faithful as any Christian) believes Jesus is less than even what johnBee claims, we then we have historians such as the one referred to in this thread who don't believe anything supernatural about Jesus after studying him for quite some time...would God really make things so confusing for everyone? This isn't to say there is no 'right' view, but it is to say the right view apparently isn't as significant as people would like it to be. At least, God hasn't made it seem to be the case.

My two cents. 

I think it is very clear, issues like the one arise because we have free will to interpet our own conclusions.

Reply with quote  #11 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jbejon
Quote:
...as well as refused any and all forms of worship

When did Jesus refuse worship exactly?  (cf. Acts 10.25-26)


Sorry, that came out wrong. What I meant to say is that Jesus denied all forms of worship other than toward the Father saying it was the Father and He alone that we should worship.

Additionally, there is a common discrepancy with the term "worship" in the bible. And that is where the term Worship(proskyne′o) is used to depict a number of different things. ie. worship, bow, do obeisance or prostrate oneself. Which I think leads to much of the confusion associated with Jesus and worship in the NT.

Reply with quote  #12 
Quote:
Originally Posted by saibomb
The fact that two faithful, truth-seeking Christians disagree on such a vital issue, is enough for me to conclude God probably doesn't care too much about our specific beliefs in him. A devout Muslim (who could be just as righteous and faithful as any Christian) believes Jesus is less than even what johnBee claims, we then we have historians such as the one referred to in this thread who don't believe anything supernatural about Jesus after studying him for quite some time...would God really make things so confusing for everyone? This isn't to say there is no 'right' view, but it is to say the right view apparently isn't as significant as people would like it to be. At least, God hasn't made it seem to be the case.


I think its much simpler than that.
The truth in the bible would have to be the interpretation that would not stand in contradiction with it. That is to say, that it must prove to be in complete harmony with the bible(cover to cover) rather than driving people away with irrational doctrines. And so in this way, I see the bible working exactly as it was intended.
Reply with quote  #13 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jonahbear

I think my inquiry to your Prof would be to ask why he would use certain aspects of the Gospel to substantiate the "historical" Jesus while ignoring other aspects of the Gospel which he contends are made up?  How does he differentiate between the true facts in the Gospel and the more spurious ones?

 

Reply with quote  #14 
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnBee
Quote:
Originally Posted by saibomb
The fact that two faithful, truth-seeking Christians disagree on such a vital issue, is enough for me to conclude God probably doesn't care too much about our specific beliefs in him. A devout Muslim (who could be just as righteous and faithful as any Christian) believes Jesus is less than even what johnBee claims, we then we have historians such as the one referred to in this thread who don't believe anything supernatural about Jesus after studying him for quite some time...would God really make things so confusing for everyone? This isn't to say there is no 'right' view, but it is to say the right view apparently isn't as significant as people would like it to be. At least, God hasn't made it seem to be the case.


I think its much simpler than that.
The truth in the bible would have to be the interpretation that would not stand in contradiction with it. That is to say, that it must prove to be in complete harmony with the bible(cover to cover) rather than driving people away with irrational doctrines. And so in this way, I see the bible working exactly as it was intended.


A very important distinction must be made, johnBee, and that is you mustn't remove divinity from the Christ. Jesus was that, wholly, the "son of God". The reason why He was so special, was that He is the "image of the invisible God". meaning that, He is, in essence, God Himself.

This isn't so much an issue regarding the Trinity as it is regarding Incarnation. If Jesus was a mere man, He could not have saved us because He would be just like us. The point is, and this is the mysterious greatness, Jesus is God incarnate as man. God literally living as man. The rearing up of the Jews from Abraham, the instillation in them of the oracles of God, the great burden placed on such people, was all for that one man to be born, the one human that will be God Incarnate.

This man, being God Incarnate, is God in that very sense. But He is man, and so God Himself is greater than the God Incarnated into a physical man. But being limited in that way -- giving up His equality with God to become lesser than God as a man, that God would be incarnate in human flesh -- is what was done for the sake of our own salvation.

So it would be best not to deceive yourself into thinking that Jesus is not God. But yes, Jesus was less than God. And yet, for a little while more, until He returns and obtains His full glory, and the oracles and prophets and the law are all complete. Then again, this is all upper level theology, not necessary for your salvation, but good to know.
Reply with quote  #15 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Archsage
A very important distinction must be made, johnBee, and that is you mustn't remove divinity from the Christ. Jesus was that, wholly, the "son of God". The reason why He was so special, was that He is the "image of the invisible God". meaning that, He is, in essence, God Himself.

While I can't speak for others, from my own understanding of the bible, I don't think I've ever conceded to the idea that Jesus wasn't divine(in origin) or not  wholly the son of God(whatever that means). Having said that, I see no reason to believe that being made in the image of God is any more God that Adam would have been God(SEE: image). Neither of which would mean that Jesus was God insofar as the bible is concerned.  Though I'm really not sure what is meant by wholly, the son of God. Does the bible speak of this?

Quote:
This isn't so much an issue regarding the Trinity as it is regarding Incarnation. If Jesus was a mere man, He could not have saved us because He would be just like us. The point is, and this is the mysterious greatness, Jesus is God incarnate as man. God literally living as man. The rearing up of the Jews from Abraham, the instillation in them of the oracles of God, the great burden placed on such people, was all for that one man to be born, the one human that will be God Incarnate.

Well I'd agree with most of this, I can't say that I ever believed Jesus to be a mere man. And that would be based on what the bible has to say about Jesus and who he is. Which was certainly not anything like us(SEE: through him, only begotten Son etc etc). Though I honestly don't know what terms such as Jesus being a God-man or God incarnate would means. I mean, how much of this is actually defined in the bible?

Quote:
This man, being God Incarnate, is God in that very sense. But He is man, and so God Himself is greater than the God Incarnated into a physical man. But being limited in that way -- giving up His equality with God to become lesser than God as a man, that God would be incarnate in human flesh -- is what was done for the sake of our own salvation.


Since Jesus bled and died like a man. I'd say he was very much human at the time of His death. Likewise, since the bible refers to Jesus as the second Adam, I'd say we have good reason to conclude that Jesus became a perfect man on earth. Which is likely why he demonstrated that he too needed to worship God as well. Keeping in mind that Jesus was not only susceptible to human weaknesses(SEE: temptation) but would also be held accountable toward God(his Father) during his stay on earth. Having said that, I agree with the notion that Jesus would have given-up his position in heaven to come to earth as a human. Though I do see a discrepancy in calling Jesus a God man if were advancing the notion that Jesus was somehow equal to God while he was on earth which doesn't really work at all considering these facts.

ps.
when Jesus addressed the charges of making himself out to be God(by the religious leaders) he replied, are we not all gods? - which I thought to be an intriguing statement.

Quote:
So it would be best not to deceive yourself into thinking that Jesus is not God. But yes, Jesus was less than God. And yet, for a little while more, until He returns and obtains His full glory, and the oracles and prophets and the law are all complete. Then again, this is all upper level theology, not necessary for your salvation, but good to know.

Based on what has been said to date I'd say we have no reason(from the bible) to conclude that Jesus is God. However, we do have good reason to believe that Jesus is God's literal Son and His firstborn creation through which all things were accomplished(including salvation). And that's a fact we can count on(biblically). However, as a God-man, or second person of the trinity type stuff.. I'm going to have to say say thanks, but no-thanks. Since I've decided to stick with what's in the bible exclusively as my guide(not men) for truth and understanding rather than contradictions.

On the issue of the trinity, the one standing flaw I see with the doctrines is where it can lead people astray in their own salvation. That is to say that since Jesus' death was based on making his Fathers name known on earth(rather than his own), I fear that anything less(or more) could impact our capacity toward acceptable worship. Then again.. that's just me. And the last thing I'd want to do, is come across as some sort of authority on such matters. Having said that, I do find the entire concept of the trinity perturbing in the sense that many people seem to advance it as an essential part of salvation when none should exist insofar as the bibles requirements for salvation go. Which I think says alot about its validity and origins. What do you think?
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