File spoon-archives/anarchy-list.archive/anarchy-list_2004/anarchy-list.0404, message 51

Subject: RE: yippi yi eh (god is with us)
Date: Thu, 22 Apr 2004 14:55:54 +0100

Andy wrote (in a post which came to me personally, 
but which I think he may have intended to send 
to the list  -  as you know if you just hit "reply"
on the anarchy-list it only goes to a particular 
individual, rather than to the list as a whole) 

> On all that, Dave, how certain are we about JC's
> existence, evidentially speaking. I know there's
> mention in Tacitus which was 100ish years later 
> and Pliny c 60 years later plus Josephus. What's 
> the odds on his non-existence if any?

Josephus seems to me to be pretty conclusive, since
he was not a Christian himself, was writing at a very
early date, and states the historical existence of
Jesus as commonly known fact; and when you add Tacitus, 
Pliny, plus of course the different gospels really 
were written by different people (as can be shown 
from their different styles) it seems pretty certain 
that there was indeed a historical person on whom 
all this is based. Having said that, there is a possibility 
that stories about more than one person may have got 
mixed together. Nevertheless it seems to me to be pretty 
conclusive that there was indeed a historical Jesus. 
In fact there is rather more evidence for his existence
than there is for a lot of other figures of the ancient
world who get mentioned in history books without any
doubt of their historical reality being expressed. 
I think any sceptic who tries to argue otherwise 
is barking up the wrong tree. What they ought 
to be doing instead is saying "okay, so this 
guy existed, but the stories about him are 
either made up or greatly exaggerated". 

Anyway, returning to the original point, from 
a Christian fundamentalist point of view of
course the Second Coming  _could_  have happened
in the year 2000, but there was no particular reason
to expect it to happen then than in any other year.
As for suicide cults, it is okay for a Christian
to be martyred in fighting the good fight, 
but suicide as such is always a mortal sin. 
So Kevin expecting that "just about every 
imaginable kind of millenarian suicide cult"
would "come out of the woodwork in the last 
week of December 1999" was based on confusing
Christian fundamentalism with other forms
of religious fundamentalism, as well as on
misunderstanding the obviously random nature
of the anniversary in question. By the way,
many biblical scholars and historians are 
in agreement that the actual 2000th anniversary
of Jesus's birth passed without anybody
noticing somewhere around 1994 (in 
other words, he was born around 6 BC...) 

Dave C


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