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Old August 1st, 2017, 06:02 AM   #101
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He is also a common denominator in more or less all of your contributions. It would appear to me that you have subscribed to some ideological "crusade" against this author.
Not really as it is only the ill-informed ones such of the fanboys or louses of Gibbon who will enslave themselves into some over 200 years old fossil. Us who study history at uni and who know how the profession of history function, would never trust in any words of this ungroomed clown or any other outdated historian unless it has been corroborated by modern historians, as the birth and rise of the academia have been the decline and fall of Gibbonic teaching and his swinging turkey neck as well.

"The works of Gibbon, are considered by the first half of the uneducated common people, as true; by the other half of the more gifted common people with critical thinking, as suspicious; and by the historians, as outdated spiced with fables."
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Old August 2nd, 2017, 03:47 AM   #102

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Us who study history at uni and who know how the profession of history function ....
Have been asked to evaluate an estimate of the authenticity of the so-called "independent testimony" of the Christian references found in the literature of the non Christian authors in antiquity. Some of these are forgeries by the orthodox church.

What is the likelihood that they are all common fabrications?



Certain (100%)
Almost Certain (87-99%)
Probable (61-86%) <<<<<<<======================== ???
Chances about EVEN (40-60%)
Probably not (13-39%)
Almost certainly not (1-12%)
Impossible (0%)

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Old August 10th, 2017, 05:56 PM   #103

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These are Christian sources. It is the Christian source(s) I wish to corroborate by examining supposedly non Christian sources.
So the exchange of letters between a Christian and a non-Christian (St. Paul & Seneca; Jesus & King Abgar) are acceptable, but only if the non-Christian part of the dialogue is preserved?

Whereas Apologetics, even if they contain the arguments presented by non-Christians (which arguments could be in written forms), are to be rejected because the 'other side' of the dialogue is not preserved in full?
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Old August 10th, 2017, 06:51 PM   #104

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Could you include;

Hierocles, who compared Jesus to Apollonius (c.290-303)

The Apology of Aristides the Philosopher, who discussed religion and constantly identified the Christians as 'them', although he favoured their beliefs. (2nd Century)

The Letter of Pontius Pilate to the Emperor Claudius, concerning the trial of Jesus.
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Old August 11th, 2017, 01:01 AM   #105

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I mean, it's really hard to claim that all non-christian sources written before the 4th century are forgeries. For example the letters between Pliny and Trajan are seen as authentic. Christians are described as supersticious people in Pliny's letter and that doesn't look like a Christian forgery. Same for Tacitus (negative view of the Christians) and Suetonius, (doesn't make a distinction between Jews and Christians.) That's a big difference from the interpolation we find in Josephus.

What's the argument against their authenticiy? The letters were at some point in the hands of Christians? Well, that's probably true for most of Greco-Roman literature. Why not claim that Aristotle's works are a forgery? His views were often used by medieval Christians and I bet a part of his works have been preserved by Christians. Is that enough to claim that his works are a forgery?

The letters of Pliny and Tacitus were discovered much later? Ok, same for nearly all of the works of Tacitus and the Metamorphoses of Ovid. What are we going to do? Declare all of this as non-authentic?

Plus, even if we are so skeptic to believe that everything before the fourth century is a forgery, why not believe that it's a forgery also everything after the fourth century? I mean, there's probably more debate around Christianity of the time of Constantine than around what we are talking here. The stuff after Constantine was also preserved by Christians.

And even if we say that we don't have non-Christian sources, we will still have to say that there were christian communities before the fourth century cause we have found some pieces of the Gospels dating back to the second century. Why copy a Gospel, stuff that in large parts contradicts the Jewish beliefs, if you don't believe in it? Not to mention the letters of Paul...most scholars see six of them as authentic and that proves the existence of Christian communities anyway. Also the other letters forged in the name of Peter, James, were also written before the Fourth century IIRC or the Acts of Peter(likely written in the second century). Let's stop here or I will go off-topic

Last edited by Renaissance Roman; August 11th, 2017 at 01:50 AM.
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Old August 13th, 2017, 07:54 PM   #106

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So the exchange of letters between a Christian and a non-Christian (St. Paul & Seneca; Jesus & King Abgar) are acceptable, but only if the non-Christian part of the dialogue is preserved?
That's right. The OP seeks independent [literary] witnesses.


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Whereas Apologetics, even if they contain the arguments presented by non-Christians (which arguments could be in written forms), are to be rejected because the 'other side' of the dialogue is not preserved in full?
The OP seeks literary works which have been independently authored and preserved by non Christians. For example, if any original works of Celsus were to be discovered, then these would be included. Origen's supposed refutation of Celsus is not authored by a non Christian.
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Old August 13th, 2017, 08:10 PM   #107

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Could you include;

Hierocles, who compared Jesus to Apollonius (c.290-303)
This author (AFAIK) is only known via quotations largely from Eusebius. If any original work by Hierocles exists then it would be included.


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The Apology of Aristides the Philosopher, who discussed religion and constantly identified the Christians as 'them', although he favoured their beliefs. (2nd Century)
That's an interesting case. On the surface, it seems to qualify.

The Apology of Aristides the Philosopher

EDITOR'S NOTE: The Apology of Aristides, mentioned by Eusebius, St. Jerome, and other ancient writers and said to have been the inspiration for the great works of St. Justin Martyr, was considered lost until the late Nineteenth Century, when an Armenian fragment was discovered. Then in 1889 the full text in Syriac translation was found in the library of St. Catherine's in the Sinai. Ironically, it was then realized that the work had never been lost at all: a slightly shortened version of it had been preserved in the well-known Life of St. Barlaam of India, by St. John of Damascus. (Since the numerous references to Greek gods would have made little impact on an Indian audience, one may assume that St. John, writing for a Greek readership which would have found a denunciation of Vedic or Buddhist deities equally meaningless, decided to insert the Apology of Aristides as a sort of rough equivalent of whatever Barlaam actually preached to the Brahmins.)

St. Aristides delivered the Apology around the year 125, when Hadrian visited Athens [Eusebius, H.E. IV, iii]. His memory is kept by the Church on 31 August.
Since the Greek version found in Barlaam and Ioasaph is widely available online, we here give the longer version preserved in Syriac. Note that there are a number of "Syrianisms" is this version -- cultural rather than theological, such as the reference to Hades as "Sheol". -- N. Redington, St. Pachomius Library.
Thanks. I will have to add it.

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The Letter of Pontius Pilate to the Emperor Claudius, concerning the trial of Jesus.
The Letter of Pilate to Tiberius ? Roger Pearse
Fortunately I have on my shelves a copy of J. K. Elliot’s The Apocryphal New Testament[3] and this has a section on the apocryphal Pilate literature. Our item appears on p.206-8.
The work is written in renaissance Latin, probably in the 16th century.[4] The letter cannot be traced any earlier than the renaissance,[5]. It was composed in Latin
The general question is whether to include letters supposedly from non Christians such as Pontius Pilate or Roman Emperors that have been supposedly quoted in full by Christian sources.

Other texts in this category might include the letters [supposedly] written by the Emperor Marcus Aurelius, and the emperor Antoninus Pius I, in response to the Apologies of Justin Martyr.

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Old August 13th, 2017, 08:56 PM   #108

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I mean, it's really hard to claim that all non-christian sources written before the 4th century are forgeries.
The OP wants to firstly identify each of these sources and secondly to separately evaluate their authenticity. The evaluation of the claim as to whether they are all forgeries is a third step. This obviously must follow steps 1 and 2.

Quote:
For example the letters between Pliny and Trajan are seen as authentic. Christians are described as supersticious people in Pliny's letter and that doesn't look like a Christian forgery. Same for Tacitus (negative view of the Christians) and Suetonius, (doesn't make a distinction between Jews and Christians.) That's a big difference from the interpolation we find in Josephus.

What's the argument against their authenticiy?
Arguments against the authenticity of Pliny/Trajan and Tacitus have been made. I have not seen such arguments for Suetonius. However in the case of the archetype for the Suetonius manuscript, it appears very close in time and space to the operations of the Pseudo-Isidore forgery mill out of Corbie Abbey in the 9th century.
If you'd like references to these past arguments against authenticity let me know.
Quote:
///
And even if we say that we don't have non-Christian sources, we will still have to say that there were christian communities before the fourth
century cause we have found some pieces of the Gospels dating back to the second century. Why copy a Gospel, stuff that in large parts contradicts
the Jewish beliefs, if you don't believe in it? Not to mention the letters of Paul...most scholars see six of them as authentic and that proves the
existence of Christian communities anyway. Also the other letters forged in the name of Peter, James, were also written before the Fourth century
IIRC or the Acts of Peter(likely written in the second century). Let's stop here or I will go off-topic
The purpose of this discussion is to seek the independent non christian literary references to the existence of Christians. This exercise is therefore not really concerned with the Christian claims, rather it seeks to corroborate these claims by supposedly independent literary evidence.
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Old August 14th, 2017, 02:19 PM   #109

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Originally Posted by Kookaburra Jack View Post
The OP seeks literary works which have been independently authored and preserved by non Christians. For example, if any original works of Celsus were to be discovered, then these would be included. Origen's supposed refutation of Celsus is not authored by a non Christian.
So you have moved the goal posts.

Your new requirements mean you should not be including the letter of King Abgar, nor the letters of Seneca, since they only appear in Christian manuscripts. I think Julius Africanus Thallus is also only mentioned in Christian manuscripts.

But since you also want the works to have been preserved by non-Christians, we are back to the earlier comment on loaded dice, since by their very nature the type of sources you are seeking (Latin/Greek literature produced within the Roman Empire) have survived only because of Christian education and scribal talents.
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Old August 14th, 2017, 02:28 PM   #110

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The Letter of Pilate to Tiberius ? Roger Pearse
Fortunately I have on my shelves a copy of J. K. Elliot’s The Apocryphal New Testament[3] and this has a section on the apocryphal Pilate literature. Our item appears on p.206-8.
The work is written in renaissance Latin, probably in the 16th century.[4] The letter cannot be traced any earlier than the renaissance,[5]. It was composed in Latin
.
The Letter that Roger Pearse referred to might well be 16th Century, but this is only one version of the letter that survives. A letter from Pilate to Tiberius or Claudius circulated and was believed to be genuine from the 2nd Century AD onwards.
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