Monday, February 16, 2009

My Dialouge with Binobolumai: Jesus Myther stuff

Late second-century statue of Glycon. (National History and Archeology Museum, Constanţa)
Late second-century statue of Glycon. (National History and Archeology Museum, Constanţa)

I have had a plesant and insightful dialogue with a poster in the comment section named "Binobolumai" (I wonder what that means). It's getting pretty long now, so I am putting the last exchange on this secton. Then I will have one summarizing piece in the next day or so summarizing my views on the Jesus myth idea, then I'm done with the topic for a while. Unless, of course, something new breaks.

Bino begins by quoting me:

Meta (before)
Meaning, if you can show similarities in a general sort of way they could
be either coincidence, or archetypes. In either case it does not count as
evidence against the truth claims of the Bible.

It's only when accounts are so very similar in many ways that it is clear
there have been some form of influence that they could even theoretically
impend upon the truth claims of Christianity.

Even in that case most of the time the evidence demonstrates the
borrowing the other way (pagans copied Christians).


I acknowledge this is internally consistent. But it seems to me not to explain all the evidence. Specifically it seems not to explain the many pagan – pagan similarities.

Meta: But I have disproved them. they don't exist in real mythology I have demonstrated this several with with every example.


The Christian defense against the mythers' Jesus-is-Horus-fact-for-fact nonsense is to look at the old texts and discover that Jesus isn't Horus fact for fact. Fine. We agree. You may stop refuting the point.

But neither is Osiris Horus. Nor is Isis Kore, or Glycon Dionysus, etc., pair after pair. None of the ancient gods had myths with identical facts. So if one applies the Jesus-isn't-Horus analysis to all the other possible pairs of ancient gods, the analysis would lead one to conclude each and every ancient god was new and unique, a thing unto himself.
Meta: I've demonstrated that this is true. Jesus is not Horus. The so called parallels are not in the real mythology. for example Mithra was not born of a virgin even in his own myth. He was born of a rock. The general pattern of the savior god born of a virgin, dies on the cross, raises from the dead leaving an empty tomb, is not repeated throughout mythology the mythers want us to believe. There are universal themes, there is a monomyth but this isn't it. It's a lot more general. For example the journey of the hero is more or less a universal pattern (although I have found numerous exceptions and contradictions).


This seems to me not believable. Much more believable is the idea that, like our idea of marriage, ancient Mediterranean culture had the general ideas of gods, demons, godmen, miracles, heaven, hell, salvation, and that different people in different places at different times applied those ideas to their own circumstances. The myths they made up had different facts, but facts built around the same core ideas.
Meta: Yes, that's true to an extent. But the core ideas were not the idea of the Gospels, or the details of the Jesus story. That is a forced and often dishonest application by peopl w ih an ax to grind against Christianity.


So we understand Dionysus as the Thracian version of a pagan god, and Osiris as an Egyptian version. Etc. etc. And Jesus as the Judean/ Syrian version.

Meta: except for one problem: you are just including Jesus arbitrarily. Since I've proven none of the details of the Jesus story are really found in pagan mythologies, then that is just read into it for ideological purposes, no reason to include Jesus in that mix. Jesus was not conformed to the conventional pattern of a pagan god. you have me no reason whatsoever to think he was. you are dogmatically gainsaying the evidence.


This theory has the virtue of explaining all the evidence, with similar criteria applied in similar circumstances.
Meta: I have explianed the evidence by disproving it. The evidence is a lie, it doesn't exist. I've demonstrated this. You are just dogmatically insisting that it has to be there.

show me any pagan god who actually had a virgin mother, not whose mother was rapped by another God but a woman who was made to be with child by a god without having sex with him! there are none!

show me another savior who died on a cross. there are none!

show me a savior who returned from the dead to his actual flesh and blood life. there are none...

Bino (before):

A. I'm puzzled by #1.

a) Do you really believe our bible stories are just one more example of archetypal godmen doing magic? Then Jesus is like Osiris and Attis and Thor

Meta (before)
> Osiris and Attis didn't do any healing. Attis didn't do much of
> anything except get his pecker whacked off (I'm serious). .

As you should be. I'm sure Attis found it serious himself.

Meta: Hu?

Meta (before)
> I think the general idea of a healing redeeming God figure is an
> archtype. The difference is Jesus actually was a felsh and blood
> historical person. Two possiblities:

> (1) either he really did the things claimed, in which case he's the
> embodiment of the arhcetype and that indicates divine: because
> he's the one real example of all the metaphors (that's called hte
> "dress rehearsed theory, the pagan myths were the rehearsal and
> jesus was the real thing).

> Or

> (2) the arche typical concepts were stuck on to the memory of the
> real guy for some reason (such as he was so cool people built him
> up into something bigger than life). You can decide which you
> accept. I choose the former and that is based upon my own current
> experinces of Christ in my own life.

Yes, exactly. We have identified our point of disagreement. I believe in what is possible given facts and evidence. You believe in magic.
Meta: what? LOL how do you figure? come on now, you have not given me one single stich of evidence. On every hands turn I've disproved every single simialrity to Jesu sof every figure the mythers use:


and other, I've proven none of them were ever said in their real actual myths to be:

born of virgin
die on cross
raised from dead
leave empty tomb
Laid in manger

none of them! I use a large bib of secular scholarly source. You have no sources. You do not give me one single example. Yet you have the gaul to say that I" believe magic and you believe facts!

I submit that you do not believe facts. I think you don't give a rat's ass about facts becasue facts say sound in red YOU ARE WRONG. your misguided world views has been shattered by the facts!

You have no right to say I belive magic becuase you have given no facts to refute. We are not discussing my metaphyics in the first place. I also submit you know abosltuely nothing about my metaphysics. You are basing that upon a misgudied and hateful understanding of what Chstiians believe: in other words you are seteriotyping.

Bino (before):
But if men and women in Tampa get married and so do men an women in Dallas that's certainly not archetype. That's shared culture. People in the culture share an idea, "marriage," and the specific events in Tampa and Dallas are instances of that idea being played out.

Meta (before)
> Yes but that doesn't they copied each other cultures. It means the
> idea of marriage began long ago when humans weren't so scattered
> over the planet.
Bino's answer:

Well Florida sub-culture is quite different from Texas sub-culture, but they're both parts of the same country, and the idea of marriage spreads across the entire country, across the greater culture.

The Roman empire was one country, with many sub-cultures that shared larger cultural ideas. Gods, miracles, healings, heaven, hell being some.

Meta: first, you are still missing what I said about marriage being so old and basic that it began before human had spread accross the earth as far. Probalby before they crossed the land brige. I'm talking about after we emergered from Africa as Zenjanthropus and evovled into homo spiens. I'm sure marrige was proabbly a Neranderthal invention. Maybe the serimony was Cromagnon. I don't know.

But you cannot assume that the Roman empire was the core culture or that what they had was the infulence upon everying. We know that most these ideas are much much older than the Roman empire. the Romans got their gods from the Greeks. They got them via the Etruscans. So they are very much older than the empire.

So, question: Does your theory of ancient miracles recognize that within boundaries of a culture similar events appear and reappear because they are expressions of shared cultural ideas and not because they each emerge separate and unique from some archetype?

Meta: I've already spoken to that. You are forgetting what was said about what was said about the more specific the more it looks like a copy. So the idea of healing may be an archetype, but the idea of mud-spit on blind eyes looks like a copy. The idea of a savior dying for the world is an archetype, the idea of doing on a cross may be too specific and seems like a copy.

But you have done nothing to indicate any sort of cultural barrowing. You have showen mo mytholoigcal propensity for any of the parallels that mythers point to when they aregue that Jesus was copied after pagan gods.

Meta (before)
> yes but shared cultural ideas are not copying in the Jesus myther
> sense. you have to learn what these guys are saying about the
> Gospel story. They are not saying there happen to be some kind of
> similarities for cultural reasons. they are saying that the Gospel
> authored copied specific things that pagan gods do because they
> were too stupid to "invent" their own story line.

> Besides they don't take into account that none of the figures they
> use in the dying-rising savior god argument were popular in the
> middle east. They don't take into account that fiures they pick out
> such as Osiris were not even the stars of their cults by the time of
> Christ. They don't take into account that it would very unlikely for
> Jewish authors to pattern consciously after pagans.

Yes, Jesus is not Osiris fact for fact. You're refuting a position I am not arguing.
Meta: but you are, serupticiously. You just did above. In saying "I cant' by your idea there's some barrowign" but you show any, then you are just opening the door to going back to the original hypothesis as though it has not been disproved, which I just did.

You cannot demosntrate that the general similairties that do exist are not arche types. Arche types do not lend themselves to the myther hypothesis. I am willing to that there are arche types and in that sense Jesus has some semilarities to pagan gods. That is not copying. the Jesus myth idea is the copy cat idea.

God can exist. God can send Jesus to earth in the flesh to die for humanity and rise again, and arche types be true. Both of those things can be true. They are not contradictions of one antoher. They do not disprove Christianity.

bino (before)
And if in San Francisco two men get married, will you agree with me that they did not get the idea of marriage from the Archetype, they got the idea of marriage from American culture, and they adjusted that cultural idea to fit their own circumstances? So even though factual details of two events differ, the origin of the ideas fundamental to the events may still be the general culture.

Meta: (before)
> Not when they are so specific as dying on a cross to forgive sins
> and rising from the dead.

We don't know the theologies of the mysteries were, so I don't know about forgiving sins.

Meta: If we don't know them you can't assert they are paralel. You can't give me a reason to think they would be. If we dont' know them they can't be evidence for the Jesus myth.

Raising the dead seems to have been a cultural convention.

Meta: where? I mention with every figure there is no resurrection myth. Show me which one actually retured to his flesh and blood life as though he had not died, and left an empty tomb behind? I've already demosntrate there aren't any and you have given no exmaples.

I agree about dying on the cross. And a mother named Mary, and a father named Joseph, and 12 disciples, etc. etc. etc. But, again, every ancient myth was different in its details from every other ancient myth. Only Dionysus was sewed up in Zeus' thigh. Only Magna Mater came to Rome as a rock. They are all unique.
Meta: So what's the basis left for thinking Jesus is a myth? "The fine brash hypothesis dies the death of a thousand qualifications" (Antony Flew).

So your criteria that some uniqueness in circumstantial detail proves the story of the magic miracle working immortal son of god proves He is different from all the other magic miracle working immortal sons of god seems to me unreasonable.
Meta: LOL can't you see the massive contradiction to your own arugment you just made? You just conradicted everything you said. You seem to want it both ways.

You are arguing in a've accepted the idea that there has to be this pagan ideal of a Jesus like guy and even though I've dipsroved allt he evidenc esupporting that and you admit that much, you still arbittarily cling to it as though it's some high ideal that cannot be abandoned even it has no support at all.

Arche types are not support. Arche types can be from God. The dress rehursal idea. So arguing archetypics is not an answer.

Meta (before)
> you don't have to turn to pagan mythology to account for that. all of
> those elements are in the OT or Hebrew history.

Yes. Judaism was just another ancient religion, confluent, except in the extremity of its tribal racism, with other ancient religions. Josephus says somewhere that the priests allowed pagans to sacrific for healing in the temple in Jerusalem, so the ancient Jews and pagans saw this confluence themselves.

Meta: you don't seem to understand the importance of the general idea. Yes healing is a general arche type, so that means its not a copy. There's no reason to assume Jesus some confromist to a pagan pattern Just he share general things that all people share. Its' the unique things that make him unique. He has a head and turnk and four limbs, he has hair he has skin that doesn'tmake him a copy.

Bin0 (before)
B. Now that I see what you mean in general, I'm unclear what you mean by "copying" miracles, especially in #2.

Meta: you are strating to muddl t the arguments. I'll watch to see if this is an intentional tachci. the Jesus myth notion turns on the idea that Jesus is a copy. If you don't watnt o argue that stop defending it because that's what this is about.

Meta (before)
> what I just said. The Jesus story stuff, virgin birth, dying on cross to
> atone for sins, rising from dead, empty tomb.

Bino (before)
I gather that to you "copying" means copying factual details. Is your theory aware that common cultural ideas played out in different circumstances may result in different factual details?

Meta (before)
> bs. The more similar the more likely copying took place. that is
> merely logical. Give me an example of anything you are talking
> about (not marriage that's not an example for reasons explained
> above).

Gods were immortal beings who lived in the sky, came to earth, had magic powers, cared about people, and did things to help or hurt them. Gods healed the sick, walked on water, spoke to people in dreams, commanded demons, and occasionally brought a better life after death.
Meta: first, not that walking on water isn't general, but show me an example of a god who does that. (No dophins pulling Posiden's sea shell charit pelase, real actual walking on water).

In most pagan myths gods do not care about people. The Greeks had sacrfice for healing but that proablby devleoped before the spcific characters of their mythology. The Greek gods were mericless tyrants who did not give a damn about people. They are horribly cruel to people and they are total selfish and egotistical. Athena skinned a guy alive because he invented a flute to honor her. She killed him in a horrible way becuase he wanted to honor her, but did it in a way that made her cheeks puff out so she punsihed him curelly. Apollo is said to have skinned a guy alive becasue he challenged a god (him) to a lyre contest. (see Mythology Edith Hamelton for both of these stories).

Pagans did not have the same concepts of demons that Jews did. In fact in the OT Jews didn't have demons. They probably got the concept from the Persians in the exile. Greeks did not have a notion of evil demons. Other pagans may have but not the Greeks. For the Greeks demons (dymon--form of dunimos, means "power" we get the word dynomite) were a lower order of god. They were divine but not Olympians, mostly connected with nature. They could be sons of Olympians. An example would Pan. Another might be Cupid (he was the son of an Olympian--see Hamelton).(according to"There are various versions of the birth of Pan. In one, his parents are Zeus and Hybris. In another version, the father of Pan is Hermes and the mother is a nymph. In another, Pan's parents are Penelope, wife of Odysseus and her mate, Hermes or, possibly, Apollo. In Theocritus, Odysseus is Pan's father. Pan was born in Arcadia.")

Jesus is totally unique. The comparsion and saving grace of Christianity are totally unique.

Bino (before)
A marriage in Tampa on a boat, in Dallas in a corral with horses, say. Different factual details, same fundamental purpose. Same fundamental origin.

Meta (before)
> Marriage has been part of human culture for a very long time.It goes
> back the dawn of human cultural. It pre dates the journey across the
> ice bridge. It's not copying per se because when it began there was
> closer to being just one culture.


Exactly. But the fact the wedding in Tampa is on a boat and the wedding in Dallas was in a corral – too different for fact-by-fact copying; Jesus is not Horus – does not prevent either of us from seeing that each wedding was a specific expression of general cultural ideas.
Meta: you are arguing in circles trying to have it both ways. Healing is a general arche type. It probalby also has more to do wtih some particular sort of perceptual phenomena associated with it that is not arche typical, such as the fact of real healing, or apparent ones anyway.

Stop the game. you are trying to agree that the specifics of coypiong are out but still keep the juice for the myther idea in the general concepts which do not inovle copying so they don't really fit what the mythers are asying. The real Jesus myth hypothesis has been destoryed. you keep tyring to sneak it in the back door.

The whole point of them saying Jesus was a copy was to argue that he didn't really exist. If simialirties are arche types or the result of universal perceptions (such as healing) this can be the case and Jesus still be real. So the Jesus myth theory is totally dead.

If you want to aruge theat there are some similarties in spite of the reality of Jesus or the potential reality and hit has nothing to do with the Jesus myth idea, fine but I see no reason to have such a discussion.

Bino: (before)
Speaking now about healing gods in the ancient world, as you know Isis healed, Asclepius healed, etc. etc.

Meta (before)
> Isis didn't walk around in society as a felsh and blood person
> healing. She didn't go up to cripples and go "take up your bed as
> walk."

As an aside, take up your bed and walk was a cultural convention understood to prove the power of the magic man's spell:

"I was still a young lad, about fourteen years old, when someone came and told my father that Midas the vine-dresser, ordinarily a strong and industrious servant, had been bitten by a viper toward midday and was lying down, with his leg already in a state of mortification….Not to make a long story of it, the Babylonian came and BROUGHT MIDAS BACK TO LIFE, driving the poison out of his body by a spell, and also binding upon his foot a fragment which he broke from the tombstone of a dead

Lucian, Lover of Lies, Chapter 12 "

Meta: that is just the kind of meaningless similarity Jesus myth thrives on. This is not evidence of any sort. It does not prove what you said to any degree. you are assuming this is some sort of standardized phrase "take up your bed" just because in one story a pagan picks up a bed. Beggars and people who were did have little mats they did carry them around. that is not spcific enough for copying. Becasue they gus not say "pick up your bed and walk." The sick guy picks up the bed. big deal not close enough!

You need to quote an expert scholar sying that the healing telling the sick "pick up your bed and walk" was some kind of standard sign becuase it happens all the time. It does not and this is not proof.

The only similarity there is he's walking around healing, and that is arche typical. The bed thing is not enough to indicate that the Gospels copied the story.

Meta (before)
> so this falls under he category of arche type because it's very
> general and other than the aspect of healing itself there's nothing to
> suggest one influence the other.


Again, recourse to circumstantial factual details misses the underlying ancient theology: gods had the power to heal.
Meta but it's not enough to disprove Christianity! it doesn't prove copying because its too general and archetypes don't hurt Christianity!


> Now when Alexander claimed Glycon healed, in the second century, how
does your theory imagine Alexander came up with the idea of having his god heal people? Do you think Alexander came up with his lie from some archetype, or was there a general cultural idea of gods healing, and Alexander invented Glycon's healing power based on that?


> did you not read my post? did you not understand what I said?
> Alexander and Glycon were fictional characters. they wade up by
> Lucian the play write. they never existed and they were probably
> patterned after Paul and Jesus. Do you get what I"m saying? Jesus
> was the pattern for Glycon. It was an intentional direct copy. That
> cannot be a proof that the Jesus story was copied form pagan gods.


Yes I understood what you said. I didn't want to be boorish by pointlessly correcting your facts. Lucian did write some dialogues, but he was not a playwright. He did not write plays. He did not have plays produced.

Meta: yes, sorry he did. Alexander is a charter in a play. he was a playwright and this is from a play.


Alexandros ho Pseudomantis is not a play. It is not to my reading, fiction, or intended to be. Further you can today go online and buy ancient Paphligonian coins with a snake god with a human head and the word 'glykon' stamped on them. Alexander was a real man. Glycon was a "real" god.

Glycon was a snake god, according to the satirist Lucian, who provides the only literary reference to the deity. Lucian claimed Glycon was created in the mid-second century by the Greek prophet Alexander of Abonutichus. Lucian was ill-disposed toward the cult, calling Alexander the "oracle-monger" and accusing the whole enterprise of being a hoax — Glycon himself was supposedly a glove puppet.

see where it says he was a "satirist?" That's a play wright. that's what a satirist is. Note it says Glycon was made up in the second century. So he cannot be an influence upon the story of Jesus as it appears in the Gospels. That was on Wikipedia.

according to Roger Pearse

AN account of the false priest of Asclepius, Alexander of Abonoteichus. It has been discussed in detail by Cumont in the Mémoires couronndes de l’academie de Belgique, vol. xl (1887).

Although Alexander achieved honour not only in his own country, a small city in remote Paphlagonia, but over a large part of the Roman world, almost nothing is known of him except from the pages of Lucian. Gems, coins, and inscriptions corroborate Lucian as far as they go, testifying to Alexander’s actual existence and widespread influence, and commemorating the name and even the appearance of Glycon, his human-headed serpent. But were it not for Lucian, we should not understand their full significance.

Alexander’s religious activity covered roughly the years A.D. 150-170. The cult which he established outlasted him for at least a century. It was highly unusual in its character, as Cumont observes. Sacred snakes were a regular feature of sanctuaries of Asclepius ; but to give a serpent a human head and style it the god incarnate was a distinct innovation. Moreover, the proper function of Asclepius was to heal the sick, who passed the night in his temple, expecting either to be cured while they slept or to have some form of treatment suggested to them in their dreams. But at Abonoteichus we hear nothing of incubation, and only incidentally of healing; the “new Asclepius” deals in oracles like Apollo, and gives advice on any subject. This, together with Alexander’s extravagant claims of divine descent, confirms Lucian in his appraisal of him as an out-and-out charlatan, aiming to play upon the gross credulity of the times and to secure the greatest gain with the least effort.

Lucian was in a position to know a good deal about Alexander, and clearly believes all that he says. Without doubt his account is essentially accurate, but it need not be credited absolutely to the letter. Lucian was no historian at best, and he was angry. In the account of his relations with Alexander he reveals his own personality more clearly than usual, but not in a pleasant light.

The piece was written at the request of a friend, after A.D. 180, when Alexander had been in his grave for ten years.

According to Nationmaster Encyclopedia

According to the satirist Lucian, who provides the only literary reference to the deity, the cult of the snake god Glycon was founded in in the mid-second century by the Greek prophet Alexander of Abonutichus. Lucian was ill-disposed towards the cult, calling Alexander the "oracle-monger" and accusing the whole enterprise of being a hoax - Glycon himself was supposedly a glove puppet.
simply the product of Lucian's comic imagination. There is solid archaeological evidence of its existence. It probably originated in Macedonia, where similar snake cults had existed for centuries. The Macedonians believed snakes had magical powers relating to fertility and had a rich mythology on this subject, for example the story of Olympias' impregnation by Zeus disguised as a serpent.

So the snake cult may have existed. That does not mean Glycon had an existence in history as a flesh and blood man. like Jesus. He's just a mytholgoical being, (ie archetype) we don't know much about him. This source also says Lucian was a playwright (that's what a satirist is). All we know about Alexander is what Lucian has in his paly so he could have been fictional.

Even if he wasn't all of this is from the second century so it could not have influenced the Jesus story. You are still trying to cling to it as evidence to sneak the Jesus myth in the back door, but its' gone. its' been purverized. there is no reason for it now.


The shortcoming of your Glycon copying theory seems to me it's implausibility. As you correctly point out Jesus is not Horus because the circumstantial facts of their myths differ. If that's true about Jesus and Horus it must also be true about Glycon and Jesus. The circumstantial facts differ. The underlying theologies – miracles, powers, prophesies, healings, raising the dead – do not differ.

Meta Still paying your little games. You want to sneak the Jesus myth in the back door. as I said, general simliarities are archetypes and archetypes don't disprove anything about Jesus. they don't disprove the Bible. You don't seem to get the point here.

And you have the further problem that Christians were then reviled as atheists – by Alexander. Lucian says so, and Lucian was there himself, in Abnoteichus, at Glycon's oracle
Meta: Again, you try to sneak the Jesus myth theory in the back door. Alexander was aficiton. The only evidence for the cult is the mid second centruy. The onlky things we know about it come from a ficitional world, Glycon did not live as a man in history> the whole thing is too late to be an influence upon the Jesus story. Archetypes do not hurt Chrsitainity.

Christians were reviled as atheists becuase the word didn't mean at that time the same thing it does not. It didn't mean who who believes in no God, it meant one who does not believe in the right gods. (ie the Greek/Roman Gods).


According to your theory, do the stories about of the Son of God and a mortal woman, come to earth, healing, miracle working, do as I say and you'll have a happy eternal life after death god Jesus, and the stories about of the Son of God and a mortal woman, come to earth, healing, miracle working, do as I say and you'll have a happy eternal life after death god Dionysus, do those stories reflect any shared cultural ideas?

Meta: What's wrong with you? Why can't you stick to a point? I've proved over and over again there are not such pagn myths. they did nt have them. they are made up modern atheists who are trying to destroy christainity. they did not have that kind of similarity (btw Chrsitianity does not say "do what i say and you will be happy" there's a bit more to it than that).

stop playing this game. I've disproven those alledged similirites stop turning aroudn and acting like they are there. there they do not exist!

hear me? they do not exist!

C. I'm interested in your idea that Tacitus and Alexander the FP copied from our gospels. On what factual basis do you believe Tacitus or A the FP had ever heard of our Gospel of John?


> Alexander never lived as a human in history. He was a fictional
> character made up by Lucian. Lucian lived in the second century.
> So he's clearly patterned after Jesus because there are not
> examples of such people in pagan myth before that.

> I'm still reseraaching the Tacitus story. But the kicker is Vespacian
> lived after the events that were suppossed to have taken place in
> the Gospels. I can prove that the Gospel stories circulated in written
> form as early as AD 50. That would pre date the time in which
> Vespasian healed the guy. That event had to take place around AD
> 60's or 70s.

> It wasn't written until the 2nd century and since it is so like the
> episode in the Gospels which was written at least by AD 80 but
> probably before AD 50, then that's a good reason to assume that
> Tacitus or his source copied the Gospels.

Yes I know about fanciful early dates for our gospels. They strike me as unconvincing.

Meta: but seeing what a tenuous grasp you have on understanding the arguments so far, the idea that you understand dating methods of textual critics does not inprie confidence. That has been proved very conviencingly by the major scholars.

But as to the Tacitus account your problem is greater still. You would need to show not just that the gospel had been written, but that Tacitus might have known about it, and had some reason to copy from it.

Meta: sorry. you have become confussed. We already agreed that great similarities mean that there a likihood of copying, no? yes I think we did. These two stories are similar so there is a good chance that one copied the other. Of cousre it would be better to prove that Tacitus knew aout the gospel, but even if he didn't there's a chance that it's a copy. But you are confussed into thinking that my case depends upon it being one. That is not the case. Because weather a copy or not it i s totally impossible taht the gospels copied Tacitus and pretty unlikley they copied some other source that Tasitus had such as Vespasian. Because both Tasitus and Vespacian came after the pre Mark redaction of the Gospels. If there is any basis to the incident at all it would have happened at about the same time that Mar or Matt were being writtne. So the gospel did not copy the story, we can say that wtih a high degree of certainty.

Weather or not the story copied the gospel is not so important.

The facts as I know them are that not only is there no evidence Tacitus knew our gospels, there's no evidence in the early 1st century that any Christian knew it. Paul doesn't mention it. Ignatius doesn't mention it. 1 Clement doesn't mention it. No one mention it until well into the 2d century.
Meta: that is not evidence that the Gospel writers copied the story from Pagan soruces. That is evidence that they did not. Because for them to copy it would have to be known. There is no ealier example of that story outside of Tacitus.

If you are trying to say that therefore the Gospel writers didn't know that is totally disproved. The fact prove that a pre Markan redaction existed. Thsi is part of that redaction. All four Gospels and the Gospel of Peter draw upon the primordial Gosepl source.


Then you have the further improbability that Tacitus, who somewhere sneers at the Jews addiction to superstition, would copy a legend from a Jewish splinter sect. A sect whose people were just then apparently being killed for their superstitions. It's just improbable on its face, like Billy Graham lifting a miracle from the Book of Mormon.

Meta: That would depend upon who he phrases the story. show me that he's serious about it. He might mocking Vespacian. BTW Vespacian knew Josephus. So that's a conduit through which he could have learned the story himself.

I'm not aware of any Christian mentioning John until well into the 2d century. Are you?
as I said, John Ryland's fragment dates to 135. So someone had to know it because it clearly existed. Obviously the people in the John community knew it. There is evidence that others knew it as early as first quater of second century. There is good evdience that Iganitous knew it.

> yes. The Gospel of John was know factually was written before 135
> AD. This is because of the John Ryland's fragment which date to
> that year. You have allow travel and copy time so that puts the
> writing of John in the 90s.

I'm afraid I can't agree. The Colin Roberts date of P52 was not "before 135" it was "first half of the 2d century" – and it is at any rate an exercise not of science but of imaginative theology, as a quick read of the paper itself will show:

Meta: that link doesn't work

and as the Harvard Theological Review finally admitted in 2005: The Use and Abuse of P52: Papyrological Pitfalls in the Dating of the Fourth Gospel

Meta: That is not a great difference 135 and mid century are very close in terms of historical development of a text. There is record of the story outside the gospels until Tacitus (I would have to see it to determine if it was really a copy--if it's like the "take up bed" thing that is totally unimpressive). But the point is there is nothing there to sugest that the gospels are copying Tacitus. He would have been a small child when John was written ayway.

135-155 would be the time when the Ms shows up oin Egypt not it's date of composition. That woudl have been (theortically) at least 20 years before. They always give a rule of thumb in textual criticism 10 years for travel time and 10 years for copy time.

The incident itself in Tacitus does not invovle mud. Moreover, the blind man asked Vespasian to spit on him. This is slight simiarity but not exact. Not srue it proves your argument, even if you can prove prior dating.

> As for as authorship there were writers in the second century that
> attributed it to John. I support the Elder John theory but that works


My quibble wasn't authorship, it was early attestation. There is none. Therefore that Tacitus should have had it as his source is unbelievable.

Meta: yes, and as a consequence I don't believe it. But that is not proof that theGospels borroweed another source. I am still waiting to see the passage itself.

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