But those who hand down the myths which the poets have made, adduce no proof to the youths who learn them; and we proceed to demonstrate that they have been uttered by the influence of the wicked demons, to deceive and lead astray the human race. For having heard it proclaimed through the prophets that the Christ was to come, and that the ungodly among men were to be punished by fire, they put forward many to be called sons of Jupiter, under the impression that they would be able to produce in men the idea that the things which were said with regard to Christ were mere marvellous tales, like the things which were said by the poets. [...]
The prophet Moses, then, was, as we have already said, older than all writers; and by him, as we have also said before, it was thus predicted: "There shall not fail a prince from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until He come for whom it is reserved; and He shall be the desire of the Gentiles, binding His foal to the vine, washing His robe in the blood of the grape." Genesis 49:10 The devils, accordingly, when they heard these prophetic words, said that Bacchus was the son of Jupiter, and gave out that he was the discoverer of the vine, and they number wine among his mysteries; and they taught that, having been torn in pieces, he ascended into heaven. [...]
And when they heard it said by the other prophet Isaiah, that He should be born of a virgin, and by His own means ascend into heaven, they pretended that Perseus was spoken of. And when they knew what was said, as has been cited above, in the prophecies written aforetime, "Strong as a giant to run his course," they said that Hercules was strong, and had journeyed over the whole earth. And when, again, they learned that it had been foretold that He should heal every sickness, and raise the dead, they produced Æsculapius.--Justin Martyr, First Apology
Monday, January 25, 2010
Saturday, January 16, 2010
"Since the Jews constantly made disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he [Claudius] expelled them from Rome." Life of Claudius (XXv.4)
"Consequently ... Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations. Called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberias at the hands of the Procurator Pontius Pilatus." Annals (XV.44)
"They also declared that the sum total of their guilt or error amounted to no more than this: that they had met regularly before dawn on a fixed day to chant verses alternately among themselves in honour of Christ as if to a god, and also to bind themselves by oath, not for any criminal purpose, but to abstain from theft, robbery, and adultery ..."
"And some say that the objects of their worship include a man who suffered death as a criminal, as well as the wretched wood of his cross; these are fitting altars for such depraved people, and they worship what they deserve."
"Moreover, when you attribute to our religion the worship of a criminal and his cross, you wander far from the truth in thinking that a criminal deserved, or that a mortal man could be able, to be believed in as God. Miserable indeed is that man whose whole hope is dependent on a mortal, for such hope ceases with his death."
"So he [Ananus, son of Ananus the high priest] assembled the sanhedrin of judges, and brought before him the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others (or some of his companions) and when he had formed an accusation against them, he delivered them to be stoned." (Antiquities 20.9.1)
"But Pilate undertook to bring a current of water to Jerusalem, and did it with the sacred money, and derived the origin of the stream from the distance of two hundred furlongs. However, the Jews were not pleased with what had been done about this water; and many ten thousands of the people got together, and made a clamor against him, and insisted that he should leave off that design. [...] So he habited a great number of his soldiers in their habit, who carried daggers under their garments, and sent them to a place where they might surround them. So he bid the Jews himself go away; but they boldly casting reproaches upon him, he gave the soldiers that signal which had been beforehand agreed on; who laid upon them much greater blows than Pilate had commanded them, and equally punished those that were tumultuous, and those that were not; nor did they spare them in the least: and since the people were unarmed, and were caught by men prepared for what they were about, there were a great number of them slain by this means, and others of them ran away wounded. And thus an end was put to this sedition.
"Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.
"About the same time also another sad calamity put the Jews into disorder, and certain shameful practices happened about the temple of Isis that was at Rome." (Antiquities 18)
"Certainly the attestations I have already produced concerning our Savior may be sufficient. However, it may not be amiss, if, over and above, we make use of Josephus the Jew for a further witness." Demonstratio Evangelica, (Book III, pg. 124)
"If by chance anyone who had been in attendance on the elders should come my way, I inquired about the words of the elders — that is, what according to the elders Andrew or Peter said, or Philip, or Thomas or James, or John or Matthew or any other of the Lord’s disciples, and whatever Aristion and the elder John, the Lord’s disciples, were saying." Now lost document by Papias (according to Eusebius)
"The words of our Savior were always present, for they were true: those who were healed, those who rose from the dead, those who were not only seen in the act of being healed or raised, but were also always present, not merely when the Savior was living on earth, but also for a considerable time after his departure, so that some of them survived even to our own times." Now lost document by Quadratus (according to Eusebius)
"It shall be legitimate and appropriate to use lies as a remedy." Eusebius of Caesarea, Preparation for the Gospel, 12:31
Saturday, January 9, 2010
"In both pagan and Jewish parlance, the word archontes could be used to refer to earthly rulers and those in authority (as in Romans 13:3). But it is also, along with several others like it, a technical term for the spirit forces, the "powers and authorities" who rule the lowest level of the heavenly world and who exercise authority over the events and fate (usually cruel) of the earth, its nations and individuals. That invisible powers, mostly evil, were at work behind earthly phenomena was a widely held belief in Hellenistic times, including among Jews, and it was shared by Christianity."
"Scholars who balk at this interpretation of Paul's words and declare that he simply means the earthly powers which the Gospels specify (e.g., Anchor Bible, p.164), are bucking even ancient opinion. Ignatius uses the term archon in a thoroughly angelic sense (Smyrneans 6:1). Origen regarded the archonton of 2:8 as evil spiritual beings, and so did the gnostic Marcion."
Sunday, January 3, 2010
Saturday, January 2, 2010
Was Jesus of Nazareth a historical person who later became mythologized, or a myth who later became historized? Proponents of the later bring up some interesting questions:
- Why do Paul and all of the other Christian writers of the first century speak of Jesus as a spiritual entity and never make a reference to his life on earth?
- Why do Jewish and Pagan historians not mention the life of Jesus?
- Why is Christianity so similar to the Greco-Roman salvation cults of the time?
- Why are the gospels based almost entirely on the Old Testament?
- Why are the sayings of Jesus so similar to Greek Cynic philosophy?
I’ll go into each of these questions in later posts. For now, let’s take a look at when Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were written. We know the gospels were written after 70CE because Jesus “predicts” the destruction of the temple of Jerusalem, which happened that year. We also know that the gospels couldn’t have been written after 150CE because the first reference to them is made around that time. Most scholars who believe Jesus was an actual historical person date the gospel of Mark to 70CE because that’s the earliest possible date they can use. Those who believe that Jesus was a myth who later had a biographical story attached to him however put the composition of Mark at a later date.
Archeology backs up the 70-150CE dating. In particular, artifacts found at Nazareth, the alleged hometown of Jesus, shows that the town wasn’t populated until 70CE at the earliest. (See http://www.nazarethmyth.info) Not only is there no archeological evidence that Nazareth existed before 70CE, there is no mention of it in the literature. Nazareth is not mentioned in the Old Testament, the Mishnah, or by the historian Josephus.
"And he went and dwelt in a city called Nazareth that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled that he would be called a Nazorean." (Matt 2:23)
Since Nazareth was just beginning to be populated at the time the gospels were written, it is likely that the writers of the gospels made it the hometown of Jesus to fulfill the prophesy that he would be called a Nazorean. However, the prophecy Matthew mentions is not found in the Old Testament.