Religous debates and questions [2]

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Re: Religous debates and questions [2]

Post by Eldorion on Sun May 03, 2015 7:23 am

From the article:

There was just one problem: The faith that the New Atheists set out to mock, refute, and dispel was invariably the least impressive, least informed, least sophisticated, most easily dismissed form of the world's great religious traditions. If faith for you is believing in the most scripturally literalistic, doctrinally fundamentalist, ahistorical, credulous, theologically illiterate variant of devotion, well, then Harris-Dawkins-Hitchens probably rocked your world. But as any reader with even a cursory religious education discovered by about page 3 of any of their books, the not-great God of the New Atheists was nothing more than a big old Straw Man in the Sky.

This is pure bullshit to anyone old enough to recall the not-all-that-distant period when people like Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Ted Haggard, Mike Huckabee, and many others like them were all over the mainstream media.  The last major court battle over evolution in schools was only a decade ago.  Did the author of this piece suffer a traumatic brain injury or did they just plain forget that part of the justification for the Iraq War was Bush and Blair claiming that God had told them to do it?  Or that a big part of Bush's re-election was him trotting out the idea of an anti-gay constitutional amendment?  It's great that the religious right is losing ground and that religious moderates are re-asserting themselves but this is either revisionism or just stupidity.

What Dennett doesn't mention is that the Pew study also predicts that 66.4 percent of the country will call themselves Christians in 2050 — down from 78.3 percent in 2010. That's a noteworthy drop. But it still has Christians, along with smaller religious groups (which make up 8.1 percent of the total), amounting to roughly three-quarters of the U.S. population.

Three quarters of the country amounts to a "bleak" future for religion?

This is a willfully dishonest misrepresentation of what Dennett actually says.  In his own words, he says "If this trend continues, religion largely will evaporate, at least in the West."  He uses the study as evidence of this trend's current existence -- which may or may not continue -- but doesn't claim that it makes the issue a done deal.  (And just to head off any potential criticism of the headline, which offers less nuance, it was almost certainly not written by Dennett himself, as anyone with a basic knowledge of journalism could tell you.)

The point: Even if the unaffiliated population grows to 25 percent by 2050, a large portion of that group will still be confusedly religious in some way, and certainly not Dennett-style atheists.

This would be a great counter-argument if Dennett had argued anywhere in his piece that the religiously unaffiliated were all, or even mostly, hardcore atheists.  He didn't.  Considering that Dennett's main beef here is with organized religion, this is also a non sequitur, as large numbers of vaguely spiritual people who are uninvolved with churches/synagogues/etc is still bad news for organized religion.

Now, it's possible that Dennett would respond by attributing much of the relative growth of religion and relative decline of the unaffiliated to fertility rates. Muslims have an average of 3.1 children per woman, while Christians have 2.7. That contrasts with 1.7 for the unaffiliated, a rate significantly below replacement level. If only the religious would restrain their breeding, Dennett might say, education and the technological proliferation of information would work their wonders and produce a global decline in faith. But as it is, every person who sees the light ends up being replaced by two (or more) who are raised to believe in the old superstitions. The atheistic truth just can't keep up.

The argument about the decline of religion is that, in the modern world anyway, social development and increasing wealth tends to bring with it decreasing levels of religiosity (and also lower birth rates, which is why Western countries are so worried about who's going to pay for the Baby Boomers when they all retire, and why developed countries with low immigration like Japan are nearing an outright crisis on this issue).  It's far from a given that the decline in belief trend will continue, as Dennett observes in his piece, but the falling birth rate phenomenon has been so extensively studied that it's very unlikely not to hold up, which means that large portions of the developing world are going to have fewer religious people born regardless of whether people are leaving the faith, which undermines the "rebuttal" given by The Week.
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Re: Religous debates and questions [2]

Post by azriel on Sun May 03, 2015 2:18 pm


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Re: Religous debates and questions [2]

Post by richardbrucebaxter on Fri May 08, 2015 11:55 am

I have obtained the original translation of the UM P46 folios done by Gregg Schwendner (awaiting the latest translation by Edgar Ebojo). Galatians 2:20 and 5:11 contain a "crucified with" (abbreviated; missing 4 of 13 letters; "ςυνεςτ(αυ)ρ(ωμ)αι") and "cross" reference (abbreviated; missing 2 of 7 letters; "ςτ(αυ)ρου") respectively. Note in P46, "cross" is translated from "ςτρου" in 1 Corinthians 1:17,1:18, Philippians 2:8,3:18, Galatians 5:11 and translated from "ςτρω" in Galatians 6:14,6:17). 1 Corinthians 2:8 does not contain any reference to crucifixion in either the P46 greek manuscript (or the current Greek NT manuscript in circulation apparently) despite being translated this way into English. There must be some rationale for this interpretation which I haven't looked into.

As noted before, Galatians (1:13,1:16,2:7) and 1 Corinthians (9:1,9:14,11:23-25,15:9) contain a number of additional messages which support a traditional interpretation (irrespective of the precise nature of the earthly death; crucifixion or otherwise, e.g. random article http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/7849852/Jesus-did-not-die-on-cross-says-scholar.html). All of these references are contained within the P46 manuscript. The earliest manuscripts of the gospels also support a traditional interpretation.

Note a newer English translation of the P46 folios owned by UM (done by Edgar Ebojo) is available within an iPad/iPhone app (however the translations cannot be viewed on at least iPhones 3 and 4 due to a software bug). The UM library have scanned the original 1997 translation for me (if you need a private copy let us know; it appears strictly copyright). I have been in contact with multiple personnel there and apparently they are in the process of publishing the translation on the internet in a standard format (hopefully HTML or PDF).

Some additional links;

UM P46 folios (English translation);
http://www.lib.umich.edu/news/epistles_of_st_paul (PictureIt: EP - apparently this App works on iPad and some iPhones)

CBL P46 folios (English translation):
www.cbl.ie/getdoc/4a02241d-54b6-446f-9f34-dbfda9a3f0f8/Letters-of-Paul-(28P46)-English.aspx (Letters-of-Paul-(P46)-English.pdf)

UM P46 folios (Greek);
http://quod.lib.umich.edu/a/apis?rgn1=apis_inv&select1=regex&q1=6238&op2=And&rgn2=ic_all&select2=all&q2=&op3=And&rgn3=ic_all&select3=all&q3=&rgn4=apis_year_range&op4=And&q4=&q4=&view=thumbfull&type=boolean

CBL P46 folios (Greek):
http://www.csntm.org/Manuscript/View/GA_P46

Nice greek translation tools;
http://biblehub.com/greek
http://www.lexilogos.com/keyboard/greek_ancient.htm
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Re: Religous debates and questions [2]

Post by halfwise on Fri May 08, 2015 12:23 pm

Looks like you're not satisfied with other's poking around and plan to do it yourself! Very ambitious, RB!

David H wrote:
Halfy, does Carrier draw any conclusions about the existence and role of the 12 apostles, if Jesus didn't exist in the flesh?

Sorry I missed this earlier. Carrier thinks the apostles were made up. They keep acting like blooming idiots; literary foils rather than future leadership material. The only one we hear about from other sources is Peter. I'll have to check on what surrounds his story. Carrier also points out scant evidence for the later crucifixions (Peter, Paul, etc), so they may have been later additions.

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Re: Religous debates and questions [2]

Post by richardbrucebaxter on Fri May 08, 2015 1:57 pm

If what Carrier proposes is true then the sources need to be re-examined accordingly. Of course he might argue that the earliest copies of the Pauline epistles in possession have already been forged (assimilated with the traditional gospel account with respect to crucifixion etc), but an examination of their content should indicate the presence or possibility of such an assimilation process.
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Re: Religous debates and questions [2]

Post by richardbrucebaxter on Sat May 09, 2015 11:06 am

Here is a slightly more exhaustive search for crucifixion references within the P46 manuscript (note Colossians cannot be verified as authentic but have included it anyway);

Code:

Reference          in P46? symbolic? translation notes

"crucified"
1 Corinthians 1:13 missing n damaged word
1 Corinthians 1:23 missing n damaged end of folio
1 Corinthians 2:2  missing n different text
1 Corinthians 2:8  missing n possible greek translation error
2 Corinthians 13:4 missing n damaged 3 words
Galatians 2:20     present y
Galatians 3:1      missing n damaged end of folio
Galatians 5:24     present y
Galatians 6:14     present y

"cross"
1 Corinthians 1:17 present ?
1 Corinthians 1:18 present ?
Galatians 5:11     present ?
Galatians 6:12     present ?
Galatians 6:14     present ?
Philippians 2:8    present ?(n)
Philippians 3:18   present ?
Colossians 1:20    present n
Colossians 2:14    present n
Colossians 2:15    missing n different text

"crucifixion"
none  

"crucify"
none  

implied earthly death
1 Thessalonians 2:14 missing n missing folio

implied passion
Galatians 6:17       present n
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Re: Religous debates and questions [2]

Post by halfwise on Sat May 09, 2015 12:08 pm

What's the difference between 'missing y' and 'present n'? Please explain your notation.

Carrier doesn't deny that Paul authentically referred to crucifixion, only that given the lack of association to earthly ties such as Pontius Pilate, Paul could be seeing the crucifixion as something that happened on the astral plane.  

His reason for pushing "could" into "likely" is based on Paul's focus on direct revelation, without reference to a single earthly action of Jesus beyond the crucifixion.  Other mystery religions have been seen to take the same route Carrier proposes.

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Re: Religous debates and questions [2]

Post by richardbrucebaxter on Sun May 10, 2015 3:32 am

the y/n/? column is titled "symbolic?" (phpbb should really support tables).

Christ was crucified in an astral plane only for his followers to be crucified on earth? I was thinking a belief system built based on a concept of a more general astral passion would be easier to gain a following (given that this general belief system was popular at the time according to Carrier). I did find a reference in P46 that might suggest a vision of the crucifixion of Jesus; "Before whose eyes Jesus Christ was shown forth crucified?" (this is not in the RSV or NIV; "Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified").
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Re: Religous debates and questions [2]

Post by halfwise on Sun May 10, 2015 3:47 am

"Before whose eyes Jesus Christ was shown forth crucified."

mm...very evocative and suitably vague for the thesis.

I doubt the earliest Christians had any plans for being crucified themselves! That came quite a bit later, and supposedly according to this thesis so did the earthly Christ. So it dovetails nicely if true.

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Re: Religous debates and questions [2]

Post by Eldorion on Sun May 10, 2015 6:08 am

richardbrucebaxter wrote:phpbb should really support tables

It does. Wink Hit the "post reply" or "quote" buttons to open up the full post editor and the table icon is right there in the middle of the row.
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Re: Religous debates and questions [2]

Post by David H on Sun May 10, 2015 7:08 am

richardbrucebaxter wrote:the y/n/? column is titled "symbolic?" (phpbb should really support tables).

Christ was crucified in an astral plane only for his followers to be crucified on earth?

That's more or less what I was trying to get at with my earlier questions about St Peter and the martyred apostles. It was startling to me to find how little contemporary evidence there is for any of this. Shocked

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Re: Religous debates and questions [2]

Post by richardbrucebaxter on Sun May 10, 2015 9:14 am

The earliest sources referring to Peter's execution would have been written within 30-50 years of the event (John 21 ~100CE, first Epistle of Clement to Corinthians ~90CE, Tertullian 200CE, Dionysius of Corinth 200CE, Eusebius 325CE). I am not exactly sure what additional evidence they should expect to find with respect to a death by crucifixion (are there discrepancies for example?), but I imagine if they dug up the grave again they might find something.

Basically my issue with a mythological/astral crucifixion (within a mythological/astral passion framework) is that Paul is talking about the 'cross of Christ' as if it is common to all the disciples' gospels at the time, and it is not just a feature of his (revelatory) gospel. For them all to have the same specific vision (/hallucination) of the passion appears unlikely, which is why under this framework I see a symbolic crucifixion being more easily shared/adopted by the church (especially if this general story was going around civilisation at the time anyway).

(Thanks Eldorion that is great the [Table] tag is now working by default..)
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Re: Religous debates and questions [2]

Post by halfwise on Sun May 10, 2015 11:12 am

richardbrucebaxter wrote:
Basically my issue with a mythological/astral crucifixion (within a mythological/astral passion framework) is that Paul is talking about the 'cross of Christ' as if it is common to all the disciples' gospels at the time, and it is not just a feature of his (revelatory) gospel. For them all to have the same specific vision (/hallucination) of the passion appears unlikely, which is why under this framework I see a symbolic crucifixion being more easily shared/adopted by the church (especially if this general story was going around civilisation at the time anyway).

Wait, what do you mean by a 'symbolic' crucifixion?

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Re: Religous debates and questions [2]

Post by richardbrucebaxter on Sun May 10, 2015 11:38 am

A horrific death which an author wouldn't go out of their way to describe/emphasise as crucifixion ("being crucified") except as a symbolic pointer to the event ("the cross of") under the assumption all parties know what it is referring to (an astral termination).
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Re: Religous debates and questions [2]

Post by halfwise on Sun May 10, 2015 12:12 pm

Ok, so the same way 'the cross' was symbolic for later Christianity to refer to any sacrifice, you feel it makes sense if it always had a symbolic element. I need to dig up the rejected gospels and see how the crucifixion is portrayed in other interpretations. My background is woefully inadequate - I don't even know if the Koran/hadith addresses it!

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Re: Religous debates and questions [2]

Post by richardbrucebaxter on Sun May 10, 2015 1:06 pm

Let us know what you find and feel free to add some links to the material. I know the Quran basically says it didn't happen; an imposter was crucified instead (apparently this is not a clear cut interpretation): Allah would never let a prophet be crucified. But this is all pretty late anyhow..
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Re: Religous debates and questions [2]

Post by halfwise on Sun May 10, 2015 2:44 pm

That certainly would turn things on it's head! This would give Muslims good reason to look down on Christians as gullible, a feeling I've gotten when in Arab markets...

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Re: Religous debates and questions [2]

Post by David H on Sun May 10, 2015 6:01 pm

richardbrucebaxter wrote:The earliest sources referring to Peter's execution would have been written within 30-50 years of the event (John 21 ~100CE, first Epistle of Clement to Corinthians ~90CE, Tertullian 200CE, Dionysius of Corinth 200CE, Eusebius 325CE). I am not exactly sure what additional evidence they should expect to find with respect to a death by crucifixion (are there discrepancies for example?), but I imagine if they dug up the grave again they might find something.


This isn't a subject in which my opinion is worth much, but neither the John 21 and the Clement quotation (which I had to get from Wikipedia) is very persuasive to me, either for or against crucifixion.

Here's the Clement quote: "Let us take the noble examples of our own generation. Through jealousy and envy the greatest and most just pillars of the Church were persecuted, and came even unto death… Peter, through unjust envy, endured not one or two but many labours, and at last, having delivered his testimony, departed unto the place of glory due to him."

And here's John 21:18,19  "Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”

Actually, if the additional interpretation as prophesy hadn't been added in verse 19, the John bit could easily be a reference to the frailty of old age.  If I'm thinking critically, I have to wonder if verse 19 might not have been added by a later hand.

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Re: Religous debates and questions [2]

Post by richardbrucebaxter on Mon May 11, 2015 12:20 am

I added this David as it wasn't clear from the last 2 comments whether you were referring to crucifixion exclusively. The sources address the certainty of martyrdom (execution).

That is a nice point about John 21:18-19. The earliest source existent including this text is dated the 3rd century (P109), so it is possible it was forged.
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Re: Religous debates and questions [2]

Post by David H on Mon May 11, 2015 8:01 pm

I'd been meaning to address crucifixion, Richard, but martyrdom is and interesting subject too. Again, I'm no expert. I'm just dabbling. But from a quick glance at the literature there seems to be a general consensus that martyr stories were exaggerated by the early Church.  That makes a lot of sense to me.  

I recently watched the documentary "Searching for Sugarman". It's interesting how quickly myths of Rodriguez's death, either by self-emmolation or by self-inflicted gunshot on stage, or in some versions by OD, were springing up within a decade or two after his album while he was still alive.

If that can happen in these times, how much easier it would have been to create martyrs in the 3rd century.  Revolutions have a need for martyrs, and if none present themselves we seem to be wired to invent them.

You mentioned Eusebius. He seems to be a prime myth-maker when it comes to martyrs; often the only source. That makes sense to me. His lifetime is very close to that of St. Constantine.  

He would have lived through that defining revolution of the early church, and coming out of the time of persecution of his early life, there would naturally have been an inclination for him and his contemporaries to define the church in terms of martyrs, whether invented or not.  

That's probably something worth keeping in mind when looking at 3rd and 4th century texts.
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Re: Religous debates and questions [2]

Post by richardbrucebaxter on Thu May 14, 2015 7:21 am

I haven't yet been through the non-canonical texts (besides the Didache and First Epistle of Clement), only the gnostic gospels so far;

Gospel of Thomas:
symbolic crucifixion; v55: "And whoever does not hate his brothers and sisters (Luke 14:26) and take up his cross in my way (Matthew 16:24) will not be worthy of me". (see also v58: "blessed is the man who has suffered and found life")

Gospel of Judas:
earthly crucifixion; crucifixion is implied based on explicit references to the betrayal of Jesus by Judas to the authorities

Gospel of Philip:
earthly execution - "Those who say that the Lord died first and (then) rose up are in error, for he rose up first and (then) died. If one does not first attain the resurrection, he will not die. As God lives, he would [...]." (See also: "Those who say they will die first and then rise are in error. If they do not first receive the resurrection while they live, when they die they will receive nothing.")
symbolic crucifixion - "The eucharist is Jesus. For he is called in Syriac "Pharisatha," which is "the one who is spread out," for Jesus came to crucify the world."
earthly crucifixion - "Philip the apostle said, "Joseph the carpenter planted a garden because he needed wood for his trade. It was he who made the cross from the trees which he planted. His own offspring hung on that which he planted. His offspring was Jesus, and the planting was the cross." But the Tree of Life is in the middle of the Garden. However, it is from the olive tree that we got the chrism, and from the chrism, the resurrection."

Gospel of Mary:
No references (50% of text available)

The Gospel of the Lord by Marcion:
earthly crucifixion (includes Luke 22:1-24:47)

Gospel of Truth:
earthly crucifixion; "He enlightened them and gave them a path. And that path is the truth which he taught them. For this reason error was angry with him, so it persecuted him. It was distressed by him, so it made him powerless. He was nailed to a cross. "
earthly crucifixion; "For this reason Jesus appeared. He took that book as his own. He was nailed to a cross. He affixed the edict of the Father to the cross."

Some additional observations;
- It is worth noting the Gospel of Thomas is likely to be the earliest of the gnostic gospels, and potentially in line or before the canonical gospels (i.e. should not necessarily be classified as gnostic). There are various arguments for a later and earlier dating, both of which appear to have some merit; although based on my intuition it appears to be a synthesis rather than a source.
- my intuition is that John is a protognostic gospel, based on their common style of writing (although I am not sure who else would argue this).
- both the Gospel of truth and the gospel of Philip refer to the "appearance" rather than birth of Jesus (which is in line with third party reviews of gnostic beliefs)
Truth: "For this reason Jesus appeared."
Philip: "It was not only when he appeared that he voluntarily laid down his life, but he voluntarily laid down his life from the very day the world came into being."
- both the gospel of Philip and the gospel of Mary refer to some kind of relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene (I assume this relates to James Cameron's production; "The lost tomb of Jesus");
Gospel of philip: "There were three who always walked with the Lord: Mary, his mother, and her sister, and Magdalene, the one who was called his companion. His sister and his mother and his companion were each a Mary.... As for the Wisdom who is called "the barren," she is the mother of the angels. And the companion of the [...] Mary Magdalene. [...] loved her more than all the disciples, and used to kiss her often on her mouth. The rest of the disciples [...]. They said to him "Why do you love her more than all of us?" The Savior answered and said to them,"Why do I not love you like her? When a blind man and one who sees are both together in darkness, they are no different from one another. When the light comes, then he who sees will see the light, and he who is blind will remain in darkness.""
Gospel of Mary: "Assuredly the Savior's knowledge of her is completely reliable. That is why he loved her more than us."
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Re: Religous debates and questions [2]

Post by halfwise on Thu May 14, 2015 12:25 pm

"earthly execution - "Those who say that the Lord died first and (then) rose up are in error, for he rose up first and (then) died. If one does not first attain the resurrection, he will not die. As God lives, he would "

I wouldn't definitely call this an earthly execution, for it refers to nothing else on earth. Could be symbolic, but then later in the same gospel:

"Philip the apostle said, "Joseph the carpenter planted a garden because he needed wood for his trade. It was he who made the cross from the trees which he planted. His own offspring hung on that which he planted. His offspring was Jesus, and the planting was the cross."

That's a very definite earthly crucifixion.


"He enlightened them and gave them a path. And that path is the truth which he taught them. For this reason error was angry with him, so it persecuted him. It was distressed by him, so it made him powerless. He was nailed to a cross. "

This could also be read either way. Nailed to a cross doesn't have to happen on earth, for many mystery religions have astral deaths.

but then I'd say one definite earthly crucifixion in a gospel makes all references in the same gospel to be earthly crucifixions, but the opposite does not hold true.

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Re: Religous debates and questions [2]

Post by David H on Thu May 14, 2015 10:50 pm

richardbrucebaxter wrote:I haven't yet been through the non-canonical texts (besides the Didache and First Epistle of Clement), only the gnostic gospels so far;

Gospel of Thomas:
symbolic crucifixion; v55: "And whoever does not hate his brothers and sisters (Luke 14:26) and take up his cross in my way (Matthew 16:24) will not be worthy of me". (see also v58: "blessed is the man who has suffered and found life")

Gospel of Judas:
earthly crucifixion; crucifixion is implied based on explicit references to the betrayal of Jesus by Judas to the authorities

Gospel of Philip:
earthly execution - "Those who say that the Lord died first and (then) rose up are in error, for he rose up first and (then) died. If one does not first attain the resurrection, he will not die. As God lives, he would [...]." (See also: "Those who say they will die first and then rise are in error. If they do not first receive the resurrection while they live, when they die they will receive nothing.")
symbolic crucifixion - "The eucharist is Jesus. For he is called in Syriac "Pharisatha," which is "the one who is spread out," for Jesus came to crucify the world."
earthly crucifixion - "Philip the apostle said, "Joseph the carpenter planted a garden because he needed wood for his trade. It was he who made the cross from the trees which he planted. His own offspring hung on that which he planted. His offspring was Jesus, and the planting was the cross." But the Tree of Life is in the middle of the Garden. However, it is from the olive tree that we got the chrism, and from the chrism, the resurrection."

Gospel of Mary:
No references (50% of text available)

The Gospel of the Lord by Marcion:
earthly crucifixion (includes Luke 22:1-24:47)

Gospel of Truth:
earthly crucifixion; "He enlightened them and gave them a path. And that path is the truth which he taught them. For this reason error was angry with him, so it persecuted him. It was distressed by him, so it made him powerless. He was nailed to a cross. "
earthly crucifixion; "For this reason Jesus appeared. He took that book as his own. He was nailed to a cross. He affixed the edict of the Father to the cross."


A fascinating list Richard. Thanks for compiling it for us! I know I'll be referring back to it when I've got more time.

It seems I need to learn more about various flavors of Gnosticism before I can even start sorting this out in my head.

It's beginning to appear to me that, from a 2nd and 3rd century cosmological point of view, our 21st century distinction between earthly and symbolic may seem overly simplistic. At least in a Gnostic world-view, there seem to be more options to be considered.

I've got a several questions, but for now would you mind expanding on the Gospel of Judas reference above?


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Re: Religous debates and questions [2]

Post by richardbrucebaxter on Fri May 15, 2015 2:23 am

The reason I classified the first gospel of Philip crucifixion reference as earthly is based on its context; the author is interpreting resurrection as a spiritual process experienced by embodied beings (in contrast to a bodily resurrection), which doesn't make sense as occurring in an astral plane before a termination. The first gospel of Truth reference likewise suggests the Christ had some earthly ministry before being terminated. They are also supported by your inference that a single reference to an earthly crucifixion in a manuscript restricts the meaning of any ambient symbolic references (although this should not affect their independent classification). Note I have been quite generous with the classification of the gospel of Thomas reference. If someone writes "Jesus said" 100 times, it is highly unlikely they are referring to a vision of an astral being - as no single person could be expected to remember that amount of content. Are you saying Carrier is suggesting people believed Jesus lived a ministry on the earth before being raised to an astral plane to be crucified?

I never expected to find any references to an astral crucifixion in the gnostic gospels as these were written (at least in general) much later than the canonical gospels. The framework proposed by Carrier is not a gnostic heresy according to common reviews of gnostic beliefs. I am currently reviewing the standard non-canonical texts. If there was forgery going on in the late 1st/2nd century of documents there would be less incentive to forge the ones considered uninspired (later declared to be non-canonical), or there could have been a selection effect.

I highly recommend you read this stuff regardless of its authenticity. This is all very advanced moral philosophy for the 2nd century, and appears to come directly out of Christianity (with some Greek and possibly eastern influence). I think the last time I read Thomas was over a decade a ago, and was probably put off somewhat by the last verse (which may have been forged). Gnostic dualism is also highly relevant to Lotr mythology..

That is great that you find this interesting David. I recommend you read the Gospel of Judas for yourself to see why I made this classification - it seems pretty obvious the author is trying to integrate the revelation of these teachings into the last week of his ministry;
"The secret account of the revelation that Jesus spoke in conversation with Judas Iscariot during a week three days before he celebrated Passover."
"Judas answered them as they wished. And he received some money and handed him over to them"
(http://www.nationalgeographic.com/lostgospel/_pdf/GospelofJudas.pdf)
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Re: Religous debates and questions [2]

Post by halfwise on Fri May 15, 2015 5:16 pm

Gospel of Philip:
earthly execution - "Those who say that the Lord died first and (then) rose up are in error, for he rose up first and (then) died. If one does not first attain the resurrection, he will not die. As God lives, he would [...]." (See also: "Those who say they will die first and then rise are in error. If they do not first receive the resurrection while they live, when they die they will receive nothing.")

The reason I classified the first gospel of Philip crucifixion reference as earthly is based on its context; the author is interpreting resurrection as a spiritual process experienced by embodied beings (in contrast to a bodily resurrection), which doesn't make sense as occurring in an astral plane before a termination.

Is that how you read that? I have to admit I couldn't make head or tails of it.


Are you saying Carrier is suggesting people believed Jesus lived a ministry on the earth before being raised to an astral plane to be crucified?

Definitely not. He is suggesting that ALL earthly references were a later addition to the early purely astral Christianity.

I'm too lazy to find the best guess dates for the non-canonical gospels you reference. I think the key is whether or not an increase in earthly references is seen with time.

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