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PaulS

The Real Jesus

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“When you need something to be true, you will look for patterns; you connect the dots like the stars of a constellation. Your brain abhors disorder. You see faces in clouds and demons in bonfires. Those who claim the powers of divination hijack these natural human tendencies. They know they can depend on you to use subjective validation in the moment and confirmation bias afterward.”
David McRaney,

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If my brain abhors disorder it would do something about the its workshop.

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On ‎2‎/‎7‎/‎2019 at 3:23 PM, PaulS said:

When you need something to be true, you will look for patterns;

This statement I think poisons the well a little bit. I personally cannot think of something that I need to be true. It is almost the reverse … the patterns point to something we might take as valid.

On ‎2‎/‎7‎/‎2019 at 3:23 PM, PaulS said:

You see faces in clouds and demons in bonfires.

This may well be an accurate depiction of the brain's capacity. Personally I have never seen a demonesque shape in a bonfire. Believing the faces and demons as real requires some specialized conditioning, I suspect.

On ‎2‎/‎7‎/‎2019 at 3:23 PM, PaulS said:

Those who claim the powers of divination hijack these natural human tendencies.

Quite possibly.

On ‎2‎/‎7‎/‎2019 at 3:23 PM, PaulS said:

They know they can depend on you to use subjective validation in the moment and confirmation bias afterward.

That is why I am an agnostic. Or at least that is the confabulation I come up with.

I am not sure who McRaney's quote was aimed at or to what point?

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3 hours ago, romansh said:

I am not sure who McRaney's quote was aimed at or to what point?

Not really aimed and probably not much point - I just thought it tied in a little with the cognitive bias that arises from the Dunning-Kruger effect that you cited.  Like that bias, we have other biases that arise, particularly when it comes to certainty about religious belief.

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From what I can tell, good people, we can't get to the "real Jesus." We know so little about the historical Jesus that it is probably impossible to reconstruct him. What Christianity leaves us with is the "Christ of faith" to be believed in, which is one of the primary reasons I am not a Christian.

Yet, though I know that much of the gospels are fabrications, myths, and tall tales, there is, to me, something that still draws me to the man. But I'm drawn to him, not to slavishly follow him or his ways, but just as the Jewish mystic that I believe he was. I don't take the view that he was "God in the flesh" to be worshipped, but neither do I take the view that he was the perfect man to be followed. Instead, he is more akin to a brother that I might sometimes listen to if what he says makes sense or if what he is alleged to have done is worth considering. 

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3 hours ago, BillM said:

 there is, to me, something that still draws me to the man.

There are people who I have been (or am) drawn to.  Though not anybody from two thousand years ago. People in my current life. 

I suspect part of the draw for Jesus is familiarity of the texts and the communal aspects. Douglas Adams is one of my textual heroes. 

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Posted (edited)
On 1/23/2019 at 4:39 PM, PaulS said:

 

 

Quote

I always wondered about the details that were never provided and how Jesus may have actually been in real life (as opposed to perhaps only favourable versions of him portrayed by adherents).  

For example:

  • did Jesus ever lose his cool...? 
  • as a teenager, was he ever rebellious to his parents as every male I know has done at some point in their youth/adolescents at least?
  • did Jesus ever get drunk?
  • ...was he ever keen on a girl?
  • did Jesus masturbate...?"

Paul, I'll respond to your more general question about Jesus' "missing years" in my next planned post and will confine myself to your list of questions here.

"As a teenager, was he ever rebellious to his parents?"During Jesus' family's return from a Passover trip from Nazareth to Jerusalem,  a 12-year-old Jesus left the family entourage without permission and returned to Jerusalem to spend time learning from the Temple rabbis.  His family traveled a day's journey before discovering His absence and had to launch an anxious 3-day search  to track Him down.  Mary rightly scolds Jesus for His inconsiderateness in failing to tell them where He was going: "Child, why have you treated us like this?  Look, your father and I have been searching for you with great anxiety (2:48)!"  Instead of apologizing as He should, Jesus replies, "Don't you know I must be in my Father's house?"  Luke saves face for Jesus by noting that after that Jesus "was obedient to them (2:51); i. e. after that He heeded his parents' plea to inform them of His whereabouts in distant places.  Luke infers from this immature act, "Jesus increased in wisdom...and in divine and human favor (2:52)."  In other words, earlier Jesus lacked wisdom and full favor  with God! Jesus had to mature and learn by trial and error just like the rest of us: "He learned obedience from the things He suffered (5:8)."  Hebrews acknowledges that Jesus shared all our human temptations without sin (4:15) because a child's learning curve is not sin; sin is a condition that separates us from God and, despite His mistakes, Jesus never lost that union. w

"Did Jesus ever lose his cool?"                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Well, Jesus seemed pretty pissed off when in John 2:15 He played the role of bouncer, violently overturning tables and using a whip to drive the merchants and money-changers from the Temple, even if it was a symbolic action to protest Temple corruption.  Jesus definitely had a  temper: e. g. "He [Jesus] looked at them with anger; He was grieved by their hardness of heart (Mark 3:5)."                                                                                    

"Did he ever get drunk?"                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Well, Jesus waited to turn the water into wine until the wedding guests were "smashed," and so, could no longer  tell the difference between the best and worst wines Isee John 2:9-20)!  And Jesus confesses His reputation as a party animal: "The Son of Man came eating and drinking', and THEY say. "Look, a glutton and a drunk, a friend of tax collectors and sinners (Matthew 11:19)!   So...  On the other hand, that reputation may be just another false stereotype created by uptight progressive vegans who just don't know how to have fun.

"Was he ever keen on a girl?"                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Jewish custom at the time dictated that young boys and girls were encouraged to  mix at a maypole dance when they reached puberty.  The idea was to sexually arouse the children so they would begin to think about marriage.  A Jewish man was expected to get married by the time he was 30.  So the fact that Jesus defied that expectation and never married is revelatory but puzzling.  During "the missing years," did Jesus explore Essene monastic life in a group that required celibacy?

"Did Jesus masturbate?"                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Well, a masturbating Onan "spilled his on the ground" to avoid impregnating his late brother's wife (Genesis 38:9).  It's Onan's failure to perform his duty to provide his late brother a family heir that is condemned, not his masturbation.  But Jesus never married; so I suspect that, like you, Paul, He was too sexually repressed to masturbate.

 

Edited by Deadworm

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On 3/6/2019 at 2:40 PM, Deadworm said:

"Did Jesus masturbate?"                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Well, a masturbating Onan "spilled his on the ground" to avoid impregnating his late brother's wife (Genesis 38:9).  It's Onan's failure to perform his duty to provide his late brother a family heir that is condemned, not his masturbation.  But Jesus never married; so I suspect that, like you, Paul, He was too sexually repressed to masturbate.

Could you just explain this paragraph.  You think that Jesus would never have masturbated because he didn't get married?  And that I am too sexually repressed myself to masturbate?  The rest of your post isn't insulting, so I am guessing this is some sort of error on your part?

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That's just my sick sense of humor.  I had just signed up and no one was around!  Like Jesus, I was using shcck tactics to try to draw  some life out of this site.  In fact, there is no way of knowing whether Jesus masturbated.  

Several other points can be made about "the missing years" of Jesus' life, but I'll only mention 2 here:                                                                                                                                    (1) Joseph seems to have been long dead by time Jesus begins His adult ministry.  Joseph does not figure in any story of the adult Jesus' ministry and at the cross Jesus entrusts the care of Mary to the Beloved Disciple.   Jesus would not have done so, if Joseph were alive to care for his own wife.  The last time the Gospels prorray Joseph as alive is the story of the family dust-up over a 12-year-old Jesus' decision to leave his family entourage without informing His parents when they were returning from the Passover celebration in Jerusalem.  

Many scholars accept Raymond Brown's view that Jesus was born in 6 BC; and that was the year when Judas the Gaiilean led a Jewish revolt against Rome, which the Romans brutally crushed.  Because there is evidence that Joseph was alive immediately prior to that revolt, but none that he  was alive after it, there is a chance that Joseph was killedduring this revolt.  The Lucan Infancy Narratives portray Mary as expecting Jesus to grow up to be a poitically liberating Messiah.  In any case, when we think of the mssing years, we should probably think of a grieving Jesus coping with the loss of Joseph.  How sad that Joseph never lived long enough to see Jesus' phenomenal ministry success and messianic accliaim!

(2) Jesus' family was hostile to His public ministry:                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

"His own brothers didn't believe in Him (John 6L5)."                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Jesus' family members are appalled by Jesus' refusal to offer His audience a lunch break during His long teaching sessions.                                                                                           " When they [His family] heard it, they went out to physically restrain  Him; for they were saying He is out of His mind (Mark 3:19)."                                                                                  While visiting His home town, Nazareth, Jesus complains, "A prophet is without honor in His own town town and among His own kin and in His own house (Mark 6:4)."                Jesus is referring here to His own family's hostility towards His ministry and messianic claims.

So it seems clear that Jesus was unremarkable during His life as a carpenter prior to His baptism by John the Baptist and His cisionary reception of the Holy Spirit.  After all, He was apparently unable to save Joseph's life.

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29 minutes ago, Deadworm said:

Several other points can be made about "the missing years" of Jesus' life, but I'll only mention 2 here:                                                                                                                                    (1) Joseph seems to have been long dead by time Jesus begins His adult ministry.  Joseph does not figure in any story of the adult Jesus' ministry and at the cross Jesus entrusts the care of Mary to the Beloved Disciple.   Jesus would not have done so, if Joseph were alive to care for his own wife.  The last time the Gospels prorray Joseph as alive is the story of the family dust-up over a 12-year-old Jesus' decision to leave his family entourage without informing His parents when they were returning from the Passover celebration in Jerusalem.  

 

Pure conjecture of course concerning Joseph. Personally, i would choose to answer , i/we don't know.

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But the scholarly consensus recognizes the likelihood that Joseph is dead before Jesus begins His public ministry.  The point about Joseph's participation in Judas's revolt in 6 AD is admittedly conjecture, but it is interesting conjecture because Jesus' perspective on loving enemies seems tp play off of the opposite view of violent revolutionary sentiment focused on Sepphoris a city of about 25,000 just a 3-mile walk from Nazareth.  Jewish rebels stole weapons from the armory there.  

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The lack of information about the 'lost years' simply supports the idea that the apostles were indeed the sources for the gospels.  They were recruited when Jesus was an adult and simply had nothing to say about those earlier years.

The early childhood reports and geneologies were most likely related by Mary and Martha and retold.  

My mother told lots of infancy stories about me, but could not tell you toot about my life as teenager and young adult.  My mom could not tell you what my first car was, even though it was an olive green '68 Dodge Coronet 440 that won just about every street race and never even got a ticket 'cuz it looked like a dadmobile.

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21 hours ago, Burl said:

The lack of information about the 'lost years' simply supports the idea that the apostles were indeed the sources for the gospels.  They were recruited when Jesus was an adult and simply had nothing to say about those earlier years.

Wouldn't that simply stand for anybody that didn't know about Jesus' childhood?  For example, any person alive during and after Jesus' adulthood that didn't experience his childhood, so more than just the apostles?  In effect the gospel sources are just as likely to be several sources removed from the apostles and/or Jesus and fail to see how it stands to reason that just because the authors didn't convey childhood stories of Jesus that one can determine the gospel authors were Apostles.

 

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23 hours ago, Deadworm said:

That's just my sick sense of humor.  I had just signed up and no one was around!  Like Jesus, I was using shcck tactics to try to draw  some life out of this site.  In fact, there is no way of knowing whether Jesus masturbated.  

Interesting take on how to engage others.

Of course there's no way of knowing if Jesus did or didn't masturbate - it is a thread just for speculation.

23 hours ago, Deadworm said:

Several other points can be made about "the missing years" of Jesus' life, but I'll only mention 2 here:                                                                                                                                    (1) Joseph seems to have been long dead by time Jesus begins His adult ministry.  Joseph does not figure in any story of the adult Jesus' ministry and at the cross Jesus entrusts the care of Mary to the Beloved Disciple.   Jesus would not have done so, if Joseph were alive to care for his own wife.  The last time the Gospels prorray Joseph as alive is the story of the family dust-up over a 12-year-old Jesus' decision to leave his family entourage without informing His parents when they were returning from the Passover celebration in Jerusalem.  

Not sure we can say 'dead' with any confidence, but certainly missing from any accounts of Jesus' teenage and adult years.

23 hours ago, Deadworm said:

Many scholars accept Raymond Brown's view that Jesus was born in 6 BC; and that was the year when Judas the Gaiilean led a Jewish revolt against Rome, which the Romans brutally crushed.  Because there is evidence that Joseph was alive immediately prior to that revolt, but none that he  was alive after it, there is a chance that Joseph was killedduring this revolt.  The Lucan Infancy Narratives portray Mary as expecting Jesus to grow up to be a poitically liberating Messiah.  In any case, when we think of the mssing years, we should probably think of a grieving Jesus coping with the loss of Joseph.  How sad that Joseph never lived long enough to see Jesus' phenomenal ministry success and messianic accliaim!

Of course Joseph could very possibly have still been alive, we just don't know.  Perhaps he had a problem with wine and was a useless father?  Still around, but an embarrassing and inconvenient part of the Jesus tale, so never mentioned again.?

 

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Joseph's death prior to Jesus' ministry derives support from 3 points:  (1)  In Jesus' home town, people who know Jesus' family identify him as "the son of Mary," something unthinkable in that patriarchal culture, unless  Joseph is long dead.   Those who make this reference are skeptics of Jesus' ministry and therefore they don't believe in the virgin birth.  The possible implicaiotn of charge of Jesus' illegitimacy does not invalidate this observation, if Joseph winds up as Mary's husband, especially in view of (2) below.

(2) Jesus would hardly entrust the care of His mother to the Beloved Disciple if Joseph were alive to care for his own wife.  

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3 hours ago, PaulS said:

Wouldn't that simply stand for anybody that didn't know about Jesus' childhood?  For example, any person alive during and after Jesus' adulthood that didn't experience his childhood, so more than just the apostles?  In effect the gospel sources are just as likely to be several sources removed from the apostles and/or Jesus and fail to see how it stands to reason that just because the authors didn't convey childhood stories of Jesus that one can determine the gospel authors were Apostles.

 

No.  The scholarship is not bulletproof but it is very solid.

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6 hours ago, Burl said:

No.  The scholarship is not bulletproof but it is very solid.

I think you are reading different scholars than me.  Most that I am aware of acknowledge we don't know who wrote the Gospels.  Maybe those with a bias try and establish a case for them being written by Apostles.  Certainly John wasn't, so now we're down to 3 Gospels and Mathew and Luke who have borrowed from Mark don't seem to be apostolic.

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3 hours ago, PaulS said:

I think you are reading different scholars than me.  Most that I am aware of acknowledge we don't know who wrote the Gospels.  Maybe those with a bias try and establish a case for them being written by Apostles.  Certainly John wasn't, so now we're down to 3 Gospels and Mathew and Luke who have borrowed from Mark don't seem to be apostolic.

Paul, you are losing the plot and repeating your unsupported and cynical speculations.  

 

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6 hours ago, Burl said:

Paul, you are losing the plot and repeating your unsupported and cynical speculations.  

While I personally find speculation around the personal habits of a person bordering on myth not very interesting and generally irrelevant. 

But it would be more interesting speculating what the scribes of the gospels were trying to say rather than waving our bona fides around.

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36 minutes ago, romansh said:

While I personally find speculation around the personal habits of a person bordering on myth not very interesting and generally irrelevant. 

But it would be more interesting speculating what the scribes of the gospels were trying to say rather than waving our bona fides around.

Agreed, which is why I criticized Paul's irrelevant cynicism and failure to respond to Deadworm's subject.

 

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On 3/7/2019 at 5:53 PM, Burl said:

The early childhood reports and geneologies were most likely related by Mary and Martha and retold.  

Julius Africanus lived in Emmaus in Judea and is recognized for his access to ancient Palestinian Jewish Christian traditions.  He identifies Jesus' family members as those who defended Jesus' messianic descent from David during their ministry travels:

"From the Jewish villages of Nazareth and Kokhaba they [Jesus' relatives] travelled around the rest of the land and interpreted the genealogy they had [from the family tradition] and the Book of Days [I. e. Chronicles] (Julius Africanus quoted in Eusebebius HE `.7.14)."

Paul alludes to the ministry travels of Jesus' brothers in 1 Corinthians 9:5).   It would helpful to know whether Jesus' relatives defended Matthew's or Luke's genealogy.  And since the Gospels associate Jesus' genealogies with the Infancy Narratives, it seems likely that Jesus' brothers or family in general are the source for the earliest version of the Christmas story.  I wish we knew whether they circulated Matthew's or Luke's version--or elements of both.  As you know, our 2 Christmas stories contain difficult apparent inconsistencies and the challenge of the extent to which the 2 accounts can be grounded in history fascinates me.

As a newbie to this site, I'm impressed with your scholarly reading and reflection on apologetic issues.  But would someone respond to my challenge about how conservative scholars connect our Gospels with eyewitness testimony?  I have read through many posts here and see no evidence of any awareness of the conservative positions being assailed.

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36 minutes ago, Burl said:

Agreed, which is why I criticized Paul's irrelevant cynicism and failure to respond to Deadworm's subject.

You appear not get it Burl. It might be irrelevant to you and me; but that does mean it is irrelevant. What is cynicism for you might be Paul just pointing out the obvious to most people that Jesus was human  … ie the real Jesus the topic under discussion. 

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On 3/7/2019 at 5:53 PM, Burl said:

The lack of information about the 'lost years' simply supports the idea that the apostles were indeed the sources for the gospels.  They were recruited when Jesus was an adult and simply had nothing to say about those earlier years.

It does not support the apostles being the [direct] sources to the gospels. It does imply the scribes were not privy to the lost years.

And by direct I don't mean some apostle's friend's great nephew remembers hearing. 

 

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1 hour ago, Deadworm said:

Julius Africanus lived in Emmaus in Judea and is recognized for his access to ancient Palestinian Jewish Christian traditions.  He identifies Jesus' family members as those who defended Jesus' messianic descent from David during their ministry travels:

"From the Jewish villages of Nazareth and Kokhaba they [Jesus' relatives] travelled around the rest of the land and interpreted the genealogy they had [from the family tradition] and the Book of Days [I. e. Chronicles] (Julius Africanus quoted in Eusebebius HE `.7.14)."

Paul alludes to the ministry travels of Jesus' brothers in 1 Corinthians 9:5).   It would helpful to know whether Jesus' relatives defended Matthew's or Luke's genealogy.  And since the Gospels associate Jesus' genealogies with the Infancy Narratives, it seems likely that Jesus' brothers or family in general are the source for the earliest version of the Christmas story.  I wish we knew whether they circulated Matthew's or Luke's version--or elements of both.  As you know, our 2 Christmas stories contain difficult apparent inconsistencies and the challenge of the extent to which the 2 accounts can be grounded in history fascinates me.

As a newbie to this site, I'm impressed with your scholarly reading and reflection on apologetic issues.  But would someone respond to my challenge about how conservative scholars connect our Gospels with eyewitness testimony?  I have read through many posts here and see no evidence of any awareness of the conservative positions being assailed.

I was taught both geneologies were largely correct: 1 fraternal, 1 maternal with a slight difficulty aligning the two.  I think somebody forgot a begot somewhere.

Comparing the infancy narratives is like comparing two paintings of the nativity.  Artistic inconsistencies are to be expected.  I'm not too interested in the 'how' but the 'why' fascinates me.

I find it easier to understand Christianity if I start at Pentecost and walk the cat backwards.  If I start with the nativity I get lost in the wilderness before Jesus does.

Please specify this eyewitness challenge more concretely.  I do not understand what you mean by 'conservative positions' so you need to walk me through that.

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15 hours ago, Burl said:

Paul, you are losing the plot and repeating your unsupported and cynical speculations.  

 

No plot lost Burl, just clarifying that there is no credible support for your argument that there is solid scholarship demonstrating that the disciples wrote 3 of the 4 gospels.

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