Did Muhammad Exist?

Mar 2013
1,441
Escandinavia y Mesopotamia
(although I will no longer respond to the close-minded comments of the other user).
That is your problem that you did not like to hear my warning that you are relying on crackpot-conspirationist like Richard Carrier who by way is NOT a scholar unlike what you assert, and ignoring my recommendation that you should be a more diligent critical thinker when browsing sources.


... the very idea of an unhistorical Jesus (bear in mind I haven't even expressed what my position is).
Totally irrelevant. It is like when a person flirts with genocide denial by stating that he hasn’t decided whether 5-6 million Jews were killed or not. And if that person then uses sources from crackpot-loser like David Irving then it becomes obvious that one is deeply uninformed and unaware of how the academia works.


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.
The point with Hannibal not having contemporary sources is not that he has not existed, but to undermine your argument about Jesus’ existence basing on the stupid grounds that there are no contemporary sources. Because 80-90% of the persons in antiquity would cease to exist since we neither have contemporary sources for them. Inclusive Hannibal.

That Jesus has not existed or that his existence is questionable is a fringe-theory called "Christ myth theory" which is mainly promoted by crackpots, and the vast scholars (both Christians and also atheists) refute this since they accept that Jesus was a historical person. (Of course)
 
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Oct 2018
1,209
Adelaide south Australia
That is your problem that you did not like to hear my warning that you are relying on crackpot-conspirationist like Richard Carrier who by way is NOT a scholar unlike what you assert, and ignoring my recommendation that you should be a more diligent critical thinker when browsing sources.




Totally irrelevant. It is like when a person flirts with genocide denial by stating that he hasn’t decided whether 5-6 million Jews were killed or not. And if that person then uses sources from crackpot-loser like David Irving then it becomes obvious that one is deeply uninformed and unaware of how the academia works.




The point with Hannibal not having contemporary sources is not that he has not existed, but to undermine your argument about Jesus’ existence basing on the stupid grounds that there are no contemporary sources. Because 80-90% of the persons in antiquity would cease to exist since we neither have contemporary sources for them. Inclusive Hannibal.

That Jesus has not existed or that his existence is questionable is a fringe-theory called "Christ myth theory" which is mainly promoted by crackpots, and the vast scholars (both Christians and also atheists) refute this since they accept that Jesus was a historical person. (Of course)
Interesting response I agree with much of it.

Perhaps I've misunderstood: Yes, in the general sense an absence of evidence is not proof of absence. Trying to use it a such is perhaps ignorant.
However, such absence does IMPLY (suggest) absence. It is that suggestion which some serious scholars investigate. Try to avoid attacking the person when making a response; it is not an argument, and can reduce a rational discussion into an exchange of insults

However, to be fair, I would have found it difficult to remain civil to that member and his truly silly argument about the holocaust
 
Interesting response I agree with much of it.

Perhaps I've misunderstood: Yes, in the general sense an absence of evidence is not proof of absence. Trying to use it a such is perhaps ignorant.
However, such absence does IMPLY (suggest) absence. It is that suggestion which some serious scholars investigate. Try to avoid attacking the person when making a response; it is not an argument, and can reduce a rational discussion into an exchange of insults

However, to be fair, I would have found it difficult to remain civil to that member and his truly silly argument about the holocaust
The problem is that I don't believe anyone on here suggested that an absence of evidence is proof of absence. I certainly didn't. And comparing having questions about Jesus's existence to holocaust denial is just bizarre. For my part, I merely noted that Carrier's argument is not based on the question of contemporary sources but a re-reading and (I seem to recall) a revised translation of certain passages of Paul, and thinking about those passages in the context of Jewish tradition, euhemerism and the Gospels. Carrier, incidentally, does have a PhD in either Classics or classical languages, and appears to have a strong grasp of Greek. I also argued that Polybius' testimony on Hannibal and Paul's on Jesus are not equivalent situations. Regardless, I'm just repeating myself at this point.
 
Oct 2018
1,209
Adelaide south Australia
The problem is that I don't believe anyone on here suggested that an absence of evidence is proof of absence

Well actually, I had a rather intense discussion with another member who argued exactly that ,and became quite snippy when I tried to correct his claim. I have honestly forgotten the name and the thread.

Yeah, the Holocaust thing was almost surreal in its reasoning.

Am not familiar with Carrier. The only biblical scholar I've read in the last couple of years is Bart Erhrman, "Misqouting Jesus" , which I think is pretty good.

As far as I'm concerned, the historicity of Jesus is of academic interest only;I think it's highly unlikely that anything will ver be proved, one way or another.

Nor do I think the issue is important, because I think religious belief is abased on faith rather than facts or reason. For some reason, it seems a goodly number of believers disagree, and insist on arguing the point. Unfortunately, evangelicals especially are really bad at it, not quit grasping either scholarly method or the basics of reasoned argument. They usually end up coming across as ignorant and silly.

-On the other hand, beware of the Jesuit apologists ; they will hand you your head. Or not

Best example of a civilised debate between an atheist and a believer I've come across is the famous Russell/Copleston radio debate of 1948; .it was between Betrand Russell and Father Frederick Copleston, SJ, on the existence of God.

Edited version (18 minutes) via link below. I think the actual broadcast is still available, possibly on Youtube

This portion is pretty intense, on 'contingency'

Fr. Copleston vs. Bertrand Russell: The Famous 1948 BBC Radio Debate on the Existence of God
 
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Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
7,095
First, do we know that the document hasn't been sufficiently tested?
It's up to you to show it has been authenticated, Not me to show it hasn't Given how wide spread forgery is these days, an analysis is necessary. This rather typical when dealing with biblical works.

Second, you are literally claiming that Muslims forged documents that contradict their own story.
If it was a modern fogery, it would not have to be done by a Muslim, and as I said, having it not follow the traditional Muslim accounts would make it more believable.

And I said earlier, if an early forgery, it could have been done at a time the official Muslim stories were not well known, or still undergoing change and development.

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 could be an atheist forged such document. Document would be more credible if it showed Jesus existed but was just some ordinary person and not any kind of Messiah. A document flat out showing Jesus did not exist might not be accepted as readily.

There was a Gospel of Jesus' Wife which was a forgery, it fooled one scholar.

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.
Forgery makes a document more valuable , the motives of the forger are variable. Some may do it for the money, transforming plain gospel of Mark into an unique one of a kind manuscript.


It gives us a place. Gabitha/Jabiyah which isn't far from Yarmouk.

Maybe stroies like these are why the battle was located there in the stories of the Battle of Yarnouk? The place I was talking about was where the document was found.

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.
If the battle were a lot smaller, more like a skirmish, would it still be the Battle of Yarmouk?

And yes, the Persian numbers were greatly exaggerated, but the Greek numbers don't seem exaggerated and even if the Person numbers were exaggerated, scholars still think the Persian arny was big, 100,000 against maybe 10,000 Greeks.. there is enough evidence to support the existence of the battle,we have found arrow heads a such from the battle.

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.
Yes, it does. If they didn't fight a big battle against the Persianz, why should we insist they would so against the Arabs, when the empire was in worse shape from years of fighting. The Byzantines just didn't have the forces in the arsa to fight a big battle there.

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.
But the soldiers doing the fighting were Arabs, and it was Arabs running the empire. Arabs just suddenly multiply out of thin air. There is no dence the army of 717 was .ade up of mainly non Arabs.

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.
Why not, exactly the same thing did happen under his reign earlier in the very same area when the Persians invaded. The Byzantines just didn't have the resources to put up a big fight, then or later.


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.
Can you give a primary source for the Battle of Antioch? I can find only a Wikipedia article with poor references to this battle, and other articles said there was a battle fought, but the details were not known.

In any case, Antioch is not near Jerusalem or Palestine but in Turkey. The civilwar did effect the Byzanrines ability to resist the.Persians initially , but it did take the Byzantines years to put together an army to fight the Persians even after the civil war was over as large as what Arabs claimed for the Battle of Yarmouk. An exhausted Bzyantine Empire, that had spent decade of fighting with the Persians just a few years before , was in no shape to put together an army as large as was claimed.

Once you stop.accepting the Muslim accounts at face value of the early take over by the Arabs, you find the evidence we have doesn't support the Muslim versions. Nevo in "Crossroads to Islam" makes the following points:

1. The Christians at the time are aware of the Arab take over, but no earth shatter Byzantine defeat, which is not mentioned in their work. Even the Fragment of the Arab Conquest doesn't talk about a battle, it mentions no great defeat, it just says a lot of "Romans" (Byzantines) were killed, which could have been just a civilian slaughter.

2. These early Christian writers are not aware of the Arabs being Muslims, that is being monotheist with Muhammad as their prophet. Many refer to and regarded the Arabs as pagans, implying at the time of the conquest the Arabs had not been converted.

3. The earliest coinage and inscriptions and writings in the period of the Arab Conquest do not menton the name of Muhammad, while in later times ( a few decades later).mention of Muhammad becomes almost obligatory. Nevo argues about a monotheistic faith among the early Arab conquerors which was not Islam, lacking a Koran as an officially recognized sacred text and in general use among the Arsbs, nor with Muhaamad as their key prophet.

4. The pagan practices described in the Koran and early Muslims sources don't match the evidence we have for Mecca, which was off the beaten road, and was a minor trading town of local goods, but match what we find in the Negev, near what is now Jordan. The original setting of Islam better matches the practice there .

5. The early Mosque do not point to Mecca, but a sanctuary somewhere else. Jerusalem could be that sanctuary or somewhere in Jordan. The Dome of the Rock, which allegedly is the location of Muhammad night journey, makes no mention of the jouney.

Note, the name Muhammad means "praised one" can be title and its use might not indicate a specific person, but more a general role. Sort of like the use of "messenger" did not mean a specific person but just a general role, "a messenger", not "the messenger". I wonder what evidence there is about Muhammad being used as a personal name before the time of Muhammad. I am thinking about something like case of 8 "Charity". In a sentence like "Charity inspires all men", it could be referring to a girl with the name of Charity inspiring people, or I might mean the principle of Charity inspires people, is possible that it could be ambiguous what is meant.
 
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The problem is that I don't believe anyone on here suggested that an absence of evidence is proof of absence

Well actually, I had a rather intense discussion with another member who argued exactly that ,and became quite snippy when I tried to correct his claim. I have honestly forgotten the name and the thread.

Yeah, the Holocaust thing was almost surreal in its reasoning.

Am not familiar with Carrier. The only biblical scholar I've read in the last couple of years is Bart Erhrman, "Misqouting Jesus" , which I think is pretty good.

As far as I'm concerned, the historicity of Jesus is of academic interest only;I think it's highly unlikely that anything will ver be proved, one way or another.

Nor do I think the issue is important, because I think religious belief is abased on faith rather than facts or reason. For some reason, it seems a goodly number of believers disagree, and insist on arguing the point. Unfortunately, evangelicals especially are really bad at it, not quit grasping either scholarly method or the basics of reasoned argument. They usually end up coming across as ignorant and silly.

-On the other hand, beware of the Jesuit apologists ; they will hand you your head. Or not

Best example of a civilised debate between an atheist and a believer I've come across is the famous Russell/Copleston radio debate of 1948; .it was between Betrand Russell and Father Frederick Copleston, SJ, on the existence of God.

Edited version (18 minutes) via link below. I think the actual broadcast is still available, possibly on Youtube

This portion is pretty intense, on 'contingency'

Fr. Copleston vs. Bertrand Russell: The Famous 1948 BBC Radio Debate on the Existence of God
Thanks for the link. I do enjoy watching debates between believers and non-believers.

Yes, I certainly don't agree that absence of evidence equates to evidence of absence. I think absence can sometimes be telling (I have found this in my own work on third- and fourth-century Roman history). I suppose the question of Jesus' isn't particularly important, but I could indeed say that about a lot of historical research including my own :). I pursue lines of inquiry out of interest rather than a sense of importance.
 

Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
7,095
The problem is that I don't believe anyone on here suggested that an absence of evidence is proof of absence. I certainly didn't. And comparing having questions about Jesus's existence to holocaust denial is just bizarre. For my part, I merely noted that Carrier's argument is not based on the question of contemporary sources but a re-reading and (I seem to recall) a revised translation of certain passages of Paul, and thinking about those passages in the context of Jewish tradition, euhemerism and the Gospels. Carrier, incidentally, does have a PhD in either Classics or classical languages, and appears to have a strong grasp of Greek. I also argued that Polybius' testimony on Hannibal and Paul's on Jesus are not equivalent situations. Regardless, I'm just repeating myself at this point.
Stop hijacking the thread. You have already explained yourself and admitted you are repeating yourself. Further posting on the subject of Jesus historicity on a thread of Muhammad will prove you are pushing an agenda.

Please don't post again until you have something to say on the topic of Muhammad, which so far after repeated postings you have said nothing. If you want to discuss the topic of a historical Jesus , created a new thread. I did not reply to you last time because you said you were not going to post anymore .
 
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Oct 2018
1,209
Adelaide south Australia
Thanks for the link. I do enjoy watching debates between believers and non-believers.

Yes, I certainly don't agree that absence of evidence equates to evidence of absence. I think absence can sometimes be telling (I have found this in my own work on third- and fourth-century Roman history). I suppose the question of Jesus' isn't particularly important, but I could indeed say that about a lot of historical research including my own :). I pursue lines of inquiry out of interest rather than a sense of importance.

A pedantic point, which I also tried to argue with another member:

Evidence is not a synonym for proof. Evidence is simply ANYTHING provided in support o fan argument. EG TheTorah, New Testament, written accounts of signs and wonders, as well as recent testimonials, are ALL evidence for the existence of God/ Jesus/Whatever.---what they are not is proof.

The question of Jesus' historicity is important in the way in which it is studied, and the way claims are made. Imo. It's important that faith does not replace facts and reasoning in historical discourse.. I think it is of peripheral interest as an area of study for the none believer. Perhaps also for the believer secure in his faith and capable of abstract thought.
 

Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
7,095
A pedantic point, which I also tried to argue with another member:

Evidence is not a synonym for proof. Evidence is simply ANYTHING provided in support o fan argument. EG TheTorah, New Testament, written accounts of signs and wonders, as well as recent testimonials, are ALL evidence for the existence of God/ Jesus/Whatever.---what they are not is proof.

The question of Jesus' historicity is important in the way in which it is studied, and the way claims are made. Imo. It's important that faith does not replace facts and reasoning in historical discourse.. I think it is of peripheral interest as an area of study for the none believer. Perhaps also for the believer secure in his faith and capable of abstract thought.
If you are not going lost on the topic of the thread, please don't post. You can always continue this discussion on your own thread , so stop derailing this thrsd a d pushing your agenda here. You have not made any contributionzz to the topic of the thread.
 

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