Did Muhammad Exist?

Jan 2019
2
spammyguts
#91
indeed, as pointed out in regard to deducing legitimacy vis-a-vis Muhammed's family relations and their subsequent letters and legacy, one could extend the argument of Muhammed being 'real' through the emergence of the Shia sect (brought about through Ali who was Muhammed's cousin and son-in-law) and then later through the rise of the Fatimid Caliphate (who claimed to be descendants of Fatima - Muhammad's daughter) that ruled northern Africa.
 
Mar 2013
1,441
Escandinavia y Mesopotamia
#92
It was my understanding that the strongest arguments against Jesus' historicity argue that an analysis of the Pauline version of Jesus and a comparison between that version and the later version of the Gospels suggests that Jesus was initially viewed as a celestial figure and was later euhemerized. Apparently self-sacrifice on the acorporeal, celestial level has some kind of basis in Jewish tradition. That at least is the argument of Richard Carrier. I haven't read his book (only a review), and so I don't know how good his arguments are, but it goes beyond pointing out that there are no contemporary sources.

Epistle to the Romans 1.3 refers to Jesus as one “who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David”.

Epistle to the Galatians 4.4 mentions that Jesus was “born of a woman”.

First Epistle to the Corinthians 2.8 mentions that Jesus was “crucified”.

I have 3-4 other similar examples but the above should be more than sufficient for now.

And why are you by the way relying on a non-scholar and a crackpot-conspirationist like Richard Carrier? I suggest you to be critical towards your source(s) onwards.



Incidentally, for those interested in Hannibal, Polybius was alive during Hannibal's later career and interviewed people who fought against him (e.g. Masinissa).
That still would not be contemporary. So, at best even when we deal with such a famous contemporary general as Hannibal who was very close to shut down Roman Republic, we can only get Polybios who apparently talked with people during Hannibal’s lifetime (which would make it a secondhand-source), and wrote it down decades later after Hannibal death. Still no contemporary source, so if one refutes or questions Jesus’ existence on the idiotic grounds that there are no contemporary sources then one has also to do to it toward Hannibal. – Not surprising the proponents of the Christ myth theory are a tiny minority in academia.


It has also been argued that the Barcid coins in Spain were minted with Hannibal's image.
Exactly, it has been “argued” but not confirmed. With other words: we don’t know for sure. We don’t know for sure what the Carthaginian numismatic coins represent. Their Gods such of Melqart?, Hannibal’s father Hamilcar? Or Hanniba himself? We don’t know because there is only image without letters on their coins, so it cannot be confirmed wither Hannibal's face really is struck on the coins or not.
 
#93
Epistle to the Romans 1.3 refers to Jesus as one “who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David”.

Epistle to the Galatians 4.4 mentions that Jesus was “born of a woman”.

First Epistle to the Corinthians 2.8 mentions that Jesus was “crucified”.

I have 3-4 other similar examples but the above should be more than sufficient for now.

And why are you by the way relying on a non-scholar and a crackpot-conspirationist like Richard Carrier? I suggest you to be critical towards your source(s) onwards.





That still would not be contemporary. So, at best even when we deal with such a famous contemporary general as Hannibal who was very close to shut down Roman Republic, we can only get Polybios who apparently talked with people during Hannibal’s lifetime (which would make it a secondhand-source), and wrote it down decades later after Hannibal death. Still no contemporary source, so if one refutes or questions Jesus’ existence on the idiotic grounds that there are no contemporary sources then one has also to do to it toward Hannibal. – Not surprising the proponents of the Christ myth theory are a tiny minority in academia.




Exactly, it has been “argued” but not confirmed. With other words: we don’t know for sure. We don’t know for sure what the Carthaginian numismatic coins represent. Their Gods such of Melqart?, Hannibal’s father Hamilcar? Or Hanniba himself? We don’t know because there is only image without letters on their coins, so it cannot be confirmed wither Hannibal's face really is struck on the coins or not.
I seem to recall that Carrier's analysis delves into the Greek and questions common translations. Regardless, dismissing all scholars who are questioning as crackpots strikes me as the uncritical approach. They are a growing minority, as Boomer pointed out. And to suggest that I'm "relying" on Richard Carrier, an accomplished scholar mind you, is also assuming my own views on the matter, which I haven't stated.

As for Hannibal, living during the last decades of his life actually does make Polybius a contemporary (to say nothing of the fragments of Pictor that Polybius argues with), and while it is argued rather than known for certain that the coins depicting a young Melqart are using Hannibal's image (and for the older Melqart the image of Hamilcar), it is still clearly relevant. But you clearly aren't open to the topic, so I see no further point in engaging with you.
 
Last edited:

Maki

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
2,514
Republika Srpska
#94
It is not being dismissive to hold Muslim sources for the same standard as Christian sources sources , and not give them.a free pass as most people have done.

.Many emphasize the 40 year gap between the first gospel and Jesus death, as if it is a big deal, then the 100 year gap between Muhammad and the first biography is an even bigger deal. At 40 years, many people who were alive at the time of the events would still be alive, but at 100 years everyone should personally knew the events and saw them would have been dead of old age. There is a big difference between a first hand acconf of events, and a second hand account from somewhere who was not there, and was not even close to where the events took place.

The kind of ecidence offered for the existence of Muhammad would have been laughed off and rejected if offered as proof for the historical Jesus. The most elementary analysis hasn't been done on the Fragment of the Arab Conquest , or the basic questions of provenance asked of the document . How was if found, did it just turn up, or was it found by a reputable archaeologist?

Did an expert do a paleographic analaysis on the writing and confirm that it was consistent with the handwriting of the period?

Where was the document found? Was it turned into an devote Muslim scholar just a few years ago by an ISIS member who "claimed" he just found it why destroying an old church. Or had it been sitting in the the collection of a noted antiquinarian since the early 1900's? One makes the document highly suspect , the other, while not absolute oroof, puts the authencity of the document on much firmer ground. Forgetting are very good these days, and many times the only way to be certain of authenticity is to have good provenance.
You seem to be implying that the Fragment was actually from a later century or forged by the Muslims. Well, that doesn't make sense at all. The very text of the Fragment shows us some things. It clearly contradicts the Muslim narrative of Muhammad's life by claiming that he led the invasion of Palestine. The story of Muhammad's death BEFORE the invasion of Palestine was already there starting from the 8th century. Why would the Muslims forge a document that contradicts their stories about Muhammad? The very fact that the Fragment speaks of Muhammad's leadership of the invasion makes it almost certain that it was from before the 8th century.

We have mass graves near Jerusalem from that timd, also a hoard of Sassanais coins under a collapse building is dated to the tims of the Persian conquest.

Very little of any historical account has survived from the Sassanais, so it is not surprising none from the war did.
You literally used the fact that there are no Byzantine sources about Yarmouk to dispute the historicity of that battle. Now, you don't apply that same standard to this conflict. It is true that we have evidence that the Sassanids conquered the Levant, which is why we generally believe the Byzantine narrative of the war to be correct. We also know that the Arabs conquered Palestine. Why is it so impossible that they were able to crush the Byzantines in a decisive battle?
 
Mar 2013
1,441
Escandinavia y Mesopotamia
#95
I seem to recall that Carrier's analysis delves into the Greek and questions common translations. Regardless, dismissing all scholars who are questioning as crackpots strikes me as the uncritical approach. They are a growing minority, as Boomer pointed out. And to suggest that I'm "relying" on Richard Carrier, an accomplished scholar mind you, is also assuming my own views on the matter, which I haven't stated.

As for Hannibal, living during the last decades of his life actually does make Polybius a contemporary (to say nothing of the fragments of Pictor that Polybius argues with), and while it is argued rather than known for certain that the coins depicting a young Melqart are using Hannibal's image (and for the older Melqart the image of Hamilcar), it is still clearly relevant. But you clearly aren't open to the topic, so I see no further point in engaging with you.
The few “scholars who are questioning” and who have relevant expertise are not (necessarily) crackpots, they are just a tiny minority in the academia. Pretty much like the Armenian genocide deniers or global warming skeptics which are completely alone with their opinions for obvious reason in academia.

Boomer’s assertions are hardly facts. That more bloggers and crackpot-losers with self-publishing materials have increased due to the internet doesn’t mean that more scholars are accepting that crackpot-theory. Even in the last two decades there also have been increase on genocide denial due to internet, this still doesn’t mean the academia are accepting the genocide denial as facts. There is a difference between scholars and non-scholarly bloggers with crackpot-theories. An increase in the latters doesn't mean an increase in academia.

Boomer uses uncritically a blogger named Philip Perry whose rendition is dubious since he makes howlers like indirect asserting that scholars like Bart Ehrman refutes Jesus’ existence which is nonsense since Bart Ehrman actually refutes the Christ myth theory, and Phillip Perry also uses the opinion of a crackpot conspirationist and non-scholar such of Richard Carrier. Philip Perry himself is not even a trained historian as far as I can see.

The next source is of course the crackpot-loser such of Richard Carrier who is not a scholar although he pretends he is, and who clearly has an neo-atheistic agenda. So, no elaboration is needed here.

Again, I will suggest you to be more critical towards the sources. If not, then perhaps you should join some neo-atheistic forums where debaters with low critical thinking may accept your assertions without hesitation. Here in historum we are some who actually are trained historians who have received lessons in source criticism and scientific theory.

And no, Polybios’ reference to Hannibal is not contemporary and neither firsthand source just as explained in my former post. And no, Cartheginian coins with no letters which cannot be confirmed whether the motif is Hannibal or not is not relevant.
 
Last edited:

Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
7,095
#96
I seem to recall that Carrier's analysis delves into the Greek and questions common translations. Regardless, dismissing all scholars who are questioning
Saddle Ornaments - Brooklyn Museum
Brooklyn Museum › objects
crackpots strikes me as the uncritical approach. They are a growing minority, as Boomer pointed out. And to suggest that I'm "relying" on Richard Carrier, an accomplished scholar mind you, is also assuming my own views on the matter, which I haven't stated.
The growing number of scholars you refer to are rapidly anti-relifoon, or at least anti tradition religions. Bart Ehrman clearly identified their motives in his book "Did Jesus Exist?". If you are s rabid atheist like Dawkins, it would be a big blow for your beliefs if you can show the founder of the world's biggest religion did not exist, and some will do what ever it takes to promote their agenda It is part of their ideological mission to deny a historical Jesus, and their views are not driven by objective facts. (Note someone like Bart Ehrman can believe in a historical Jesus and still be an atheist.)

As for Hannibal, living during the last decades of his life actually does make Polybius a contemporary (to say nothing of the fragments of Pictor that Polybius argues with), and while it is argued rather than known for certain that the coins depicting a young Melqart are using Hannibal's image (and for the older Melqart the image of Hamilcar), it is still clearly relevant. But you clearly aren't open to the topic, so I see no further point in engaging with you.
Paul is as much a contdmporary of Jesus as Polybius is of Hannibal. If Polybius counts, so does Paul .

If you have something to say on the topic of this thread which is Muhammad, then please post it. If not, you should not be posting here and you should post on a thread about Jesus. Your continued posting on this thread items regarding Jesus would prove you are pushing an agenda, not interested in open debate.

One question - why don't you show the same interest in the question as to whether Muhammad existed as you do Jesus?
 
#97
The growing number of scholars you refer to are rapidly anti-relifoon, or at least anti tradition religions. Bart Ehrman clearly identified their motives in his book "Did Jesus Exist?". If you are s rabid atheist like Dawkins, it would be a big blow for your beliefs if you can show the founder of the world's biggest religion did not exist, and some will do what ever it takes to promote their agenda It is part of their ideological mission to deny a historical Jesus, and their views are not driven by objective facts. (Note someone like Bart Ehrman can believe in a historical Jesus and still be an atheist.)



Paul is as much a contdmporary of Jesus as Polybius is of Hannibal. If Polybius counts, so does Paul .

If you have something to say on the topic of this thread which is Muhammad, then please post it. If not, you should not be posting here and you should post on a thread about Jesus. Your continued posting on this thread items regarding Jesus would prove you are pushing an agenda, not interested in open debate.

One question - why don't you show the same interest in the question as to whether Muhammad existed as you do Jesus?
I responded in the first place because the position of historicists was being treated in a simplistic and deceptive manner, and I continue to respond because certain users (like you) continue to address me in a pointed manner that warrants a response (although I will no longer respond to the close-minded comments of the other user). If that means I have an agenda and am close-minded, that's a bizarre conclusion that suggests that you have decided what my position and motives are based on a knee-jerk reaction to the very idea of an unhistorical Jesus (bear in mind I haven't even expressed what my position is). I'm also interested in the arguments, not your attributing of motives to scholars (it's also of course not necessary to disbelieve a historical Jesus to disbelieve claims of his divinity). As for Paul, yes he was a contemporary of Jesus, although their situations aren't equivalent. Polybius lived in Greece when Hannibal was directly involved in geopolitical affairs in the region, and had no reason to invent the guy. Paul was living in Tarsus and then helped to establish a religion around a guy who apparently had come and gone. As for Muhammad, the topic fascinates me, thus why I was following the thread in the first place, but I know too little to contribute. I was reading the thread to learn and nothing more, but a prior comment about the historicity of Jesus warranted comment. Unfortunately that must mean I have an agenda! Bboomer was clearly right to opt out of this. The behaviour on this thread is just too silly, and I clearly have nothing to gain from continuing to engage. Bye xx
 
Last edited:

Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
7,095
#98
You seem to be implying that the Fragment was actually from a later century or forged by the Muslims. Well, that doesn't make sense at all. The very text of the Fragment shows us some things. It clearly contradicts the Muslim narrative of Muhammad's life by claiming that he led the invasion of Palestine. The story of Muhammad's death BEFORE the invasion of Palestine was already there starting from the 8th century. Why would the Muslims forge a document that contradicts their stories about Muhammad? The very fact that the Fragment speaks of Muhammad's leadership of the invasion makes it almost certain that it was from before the 8th century.
It could have been forged by Arabs at a time when the story of the Battle of Yarnouk was still.evovling , which is why ir does not agree once the story of the Battle was fully developed.

Or it could be a modern forgery. This would explain why it was written on just a blank page on an existing ancient document The wrinf material is genuinely ancient. As for not following the traditional Muslim narrative, that makes the document seem more authentic. If it followed the Muslim narrative exactly, it would have been suspected of being a forgery by Western scholars or at least would have been examined much more closely by scholars like Crone. The mere fact that it doesn't follow the Muslim accounts made it more accepted. Paleographic analaysis, an examination of the ink, questions about how the document would have been asked but weren't. Even the breaks in the texts may be deliberate, not accidental, to make it seem more genuine. The document just has not been subject to the same kind of scrutiny.

There was a recent incident of the Gospel of Jesus wife that was subject to these same kinds of analysis. It turns out the forget used genuine Ancient papyrus, but the language was a little off for the time, and s genuine ancient text was doing that the forget used as a template - where the genuine text broke off or was missing words, the forgery was too.

Even if genuine. it does not actually describe a battle, it just says a lot of Romans were killed. Because we know of the Battle of Yarnouk, we are interpreting that in light of our knowledge.

You literally used the fact that there are no Byzantine sources about Yarmouk to dispute the historicity of that battle. Now, you don't apply that same standard to this conflict.
We do Byzantine accounts of the Byzantine -Sassanaid war, so why not with the later Battle of Yarnouk?

As far the first Arab siege of Constantinople, we do have accounts of Muslim assaults and fighting in the Area, and we do have other reports of the Arab fleet being destroyed with flame thrower, even if in different locations. The lack of A
Muslim reference to the first siege was because it was not regarded by tem as one, not with siege engines throwing stones at the wall. From the Greek side it as, since it was intended to strangle Constantinople, cutting off the city. There is some independent codroboration in some elements lacking in the Battle of Yarnouk

It is true that we have evidence that the Sassanids conquered the Levant, which is why we generally believe the Byzantine narrative of the war to be correct. We also know that the Arabs conquered Palestine. Why is it so impossible that they were able to crush the Byzantines in a decisive battle?
Because the Byzantines simply did t have the resources to create an army as large as claimed , because the on Muslim sources when the time when the Arabs were taking over seemorant of such a massive battle and make no mention of, and because the account also smacks of propoganda.

In addition, the Byzantines did not fight a great battle when the Persians took over the same area just a few decades earlier. And the Byzantines did not fight a great battle in the area to recover the land - Palestine was returned to them as part of a peace agreement due to their victory in another front. The Byzantine simply did not have the resources in the area to mount such a huge army.

When we get to where we actually have no.Muslim sources, like the second siege of Constantinople, the Arabs forces are no longer out numbers. I am sure their may have been some minor battle involved , but no where near the size described and the Arabs might not have been out numbered

What is so hard to believe that the Arab accounts are exaggerated and more propogandic boasting, the legend of "How We Beat the Romans" and not real history? That the Arab just moved into an area that was poorly defended due to the exhaustion of both sides of long war, and after defeating some local forces, took over?

The Persians had no trouble taking over the very same area just decades earlier with very little trouble, and all without winning a major battle such as Yarnouk, so why insist the Arabs had to need one to take over the very same area? And Bzyantium was in better shape when the Persians invade than when the Arabs did.

I agree, that if the only thing against the Battle of Yarnouk was a lack of contemporary accounts, then that would not be as big a knock agsindt the story. But it also has be be evaluated Iight of the conditions how they responded to a previous invasion and take over in the same area just decades before.

Could there have been such as great battle in the areaas described? Unlikely, given the resources the Byzantines would have had. Could Muhammad been a real person. Possible. That Muslims and others believedbe real is true, but that does not make it so. Everyone in antiquity believed that Jesus was real, yet that does not mean that existence of Jesus can't be questioned or isn't due to that fact.
 

Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
7,095
#99
I responded in the first place because the position of historicists was bein
indeed, as pointed out in regard to deducing legitimacy vis-a-vis Muhammed's family relations and their subsequent letters and legacy, one could extend the argument of Muhammed being 'real' through the emergence of the Shia sect (brought about through Ali who was Muhammed's cousin and son-in-law) and then later through the rise of the Fatimid Caliphate (who claimed to be descendants of Fatima - Muhammad's daughter) that ruled northern Africa.
Do we have letters from Muhammad's family members? Say a granddaughter or his daughter? I am not aware of any, and would be curious to see them, and to know whether they have been subject to the same scrutiny for authenticity as the letters of Paul for example. It would be interesting to know what they say, what issue were of concern to the early Muslims. Letters from the daughter of Muhammad would be a support of his existence.

That a Caliph might claim descent from Fatima is not proof of anything, though. German kings claimed to be descended from gods, doesn't mean those gods existed .
 
Last edited:

Maki

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
2,514
Republika Srpska
Or it could be a modern forgery. This would explain why it was written on just a blank page on an existing ancient document The wrinf material is genuinely ancient. As for not following the traditional Muslim narrative, that makes the document seem more authentic. If it followed the Muslim narrative exactly, it would have been suspected of being a forgery by Western scholars or at least would have been examined much more closely by scholars like Crone. The mere fact that it doesn't follow the Muslim accounts made it more accepted. Paleographic analaysis, an examination of the ink, questions about how the document would have been asked but weren't. Even the breaks in the texts may be deliberate, not accidental, to make it seem more genuine. The document just has not been subject to the same kind of scrutiny.
First, do we know that the document hasn't been sufficiently tested? Second, you are literally claiming that Muslims forged documents that contradict their own story. That doesn't make any sense whatsoever. It would be as if Christians decided to forge a document in order to prove Jesus existed, but wrote that he wasn't even a God or that he was a false Messiah etc. It isn't enough to simply prove Jesus or Muhammad existed, they have to fit the narrative assigned to them by Christians or Muslims in order to confirm the claims of said religions to be the only true religion. Just proving Muhammad existed does nothing for the Muslims, he has to be confirmed as a prophet of God. The Fragment makes Muhammad look like a simple warlord.


Even if genuine. it does not actually describe a battle, it just says a lot of Romans were killed. Because we know of the Battle of Yarnouk, we are interpreting that in light of our knowledge.
It gives us a place. Gabitha/Jabiyah which isn't far from Yarmouk.


Because the Byzantines simply did t have the resources to create an army as large as claimed , because the on Muslim sources when the time when the Arabs were taking over seemorant of such a massive battle and make no mention of, and because the account also smacks of propoganda.
This only proves that the numbers were exaggerated. Herodotus claimed that there was like two million Persian at Thermopylae. Still, we do believe that the battle happened there.

In addition, the Byzantines did not fight a great battle when the Persians took over the same area just a few decades earlier. And the Byzantines did not fight a great battle in the area to recover the land - Palestine was returned to them as part of a peace agreement due to their victory in another front. The Byzantine simply did not have the resources in the area to mount such a huge army.
This argument makes no sense. The Byzantines didn't fight a big battle in Syria and Palestine against the Persians so that must mean they didn't fight a big battle in Syria and Palestine against the Arabs? I don't think so.

When we get to where we actually have no.Muslim sources, like the second siege of Constantinople, the Arabs forces are no longer out numbers. I am sure their may have been some minor battle involved , but no where near the size described and the Arabs might not have been out numbered
You literally cannot compare the 636 Arabs and 717 Arabs. By 717, the Arabs controlled a huge empire, bigger than the Roman Empire at its peak. In 636 they had no such empire.

What is so hard to believe that the Arab accounts are exaggerated and more propogandic boasting, the legend of "How We Beat the Romans" and not real history? That the Arab just moved into an area that was poorly defended due to the exhaustion of both sides of long war, and after defeating some local forces, took over?
Because it makes no sense that emperor Heraclius would do nothing and let Syria and Palestine, quite important provinces for both economic and religious reasons, fall without a big fight.

The Persians had no trouble taking over the very same area just decades earlier with very little trouble, and all without winning a major battle such as Yarnouk, so why insist the Arabs had to need one to take over the very same area? And Bzyantium was in better shape when the Persians invade than when the Arabs did.
And the 613 Battle of Antioch isn't a major battle for you? And was Byzantium in a better shape? The country was ravaged by a civil war between Heraclius and Phocas, Heraclius' cutting off of supplies to Constantinople caused a famine plus there was a major war in the east.
 

Similar History Discussions