Author Topic: Brian Dunning on the historicity of Jesus  (Read 259 times)

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Offline Quetzalcoatl

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Brian Dunning on the historicity of Jesus
« on: July 06, 2019, 08:10:01 AM »
I don't listen to Skeptoid on a regular basis, but I heard that for episode 666, it was about the historicity of Jesus, so I checked it up:

After reviewing various kinds of sources and arguments, Brian Dunning concludes:

Quote from: Brian Dunning
I land on Jesus having been an actual person as the null hypothesis — but I've no complaint against the opposite perspective. However, this null hypothesis should be tempered with two facts: First, if he lived, he was not very noteworthy in his day; as we can deduce from the lack of contemporary documentation. Second, applying the lessons learned from a decade at Skeptoid of studying the growth and development of urban legends and other beliefs, it's a virtual certainty that whatever the original seed of truth may have been, today's legend of Jesus is as imaginative authors have magnified it and magnified it and magnified it countless times over the centuries.

Yes, the Gospels are piss-poor as historical sources, and the external sources don't really cut it either. Tacitus for example seems to have written what we wrote about Jesus based on what he heard about what Christians believe. Skeptics who know about urban legends know that they can arise quickly from pretty much nothing.

But on the other hand, the area that Jesus is claimed to have lived in was a backwater area of the empire, and he was by Gospel accounts a preacher, not a general who won battles. So perhaps one shouldn't expect there to be too many external early mentions of him either.

Perhaps a sort of agnosticism is the most appropriate response to the question. Was Zoroaster a historical person? I'm agnostic about that.
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Offline John Albert

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Re: Brian Dunning on the historicity of Jesus
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2019, 08:29:26 AM »
Given that it's the majority opinion of professional historians, that seems like a reasonable null hypothesis.

Offline Awatsjr

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Re: Brian Dunning on the historicity of Jesus
« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2019, 07:01:22 PM »
I believe he was an itinerant apocalyptic preacher, got himself put to death and Peter fell apart emotionally over it. He then saw Jesus in a dream or vision and came to believe he was “alive” in the Jewish sense. Others started to believe it too either through Peter, having their own experiences  ... or lying to be hip with it. It took off from there.

I do believe he existed but who he really was is lost to exaggeration. Too bad because he seems to have been a well intentioned guy and doesn’t get credit for what he was really trying to do. That too is lost on believers. He seems to have used violence at times (Zealots possibly) but somewhere decided that wasn’t the way to go. Violence certainly wasn’t foreign to him.

IMIEO
« Last Edit: July 11, 2019, 12:16:58 PM by Awatsjr »

Offline xenu

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Re: Brian Dunning on the historicity of Jesus
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2019, 08:05:21 PM »
I believe he was an itinerant apocalyptic preacher, got himself put to death and Peter fell apart emotionally over it. He then saw Jesus in a dream or vision and came to believe he was “alive” in the Jewish sense. Others started to believe it too either through Peter, having their own experiences  ... or lying to be hip with it. It took off from there.

But I do believe he existed but who he really was is lost to exaggeration. Too bad because he seems to have been a well intentioned guy and doesn’t get credit for what he was really trying to do. That too is lost on believers. He seems to have used violence at times (Zealots possibly) but somewhere decided that wasn’t the way to go. Violence certainly wasn’t foreign to him.

IMIEO

That actually sounds like a reasonable explanation of what happened. 
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