Proving a Negative.

Honestly, when it comes down to it, you can’t prove a negative. So why am I doing this? Ah…

Well I am caving a bit to my fans on You Tube. They’ve been asking for me to focus more on biblical archaeology, and there is a lot of that to do. There are lots of ways that archaeology is abused to move a creationist agenda forward or to simply validate lies. However, it also opens me to a huge argument I wasn’t sure that I wanted to join in on. I mean, people take their religion really seriously, and they get offended really easily when it comes to religion. There really isn’t a way to avoid talking religion if I touch on biblical archaeology, so I guess I need to bite the built.

So why Jesus?

I listen to Point of Inquiry regularly, and a few weeks ago Dr. Robert Price interviewed a man named Frank Zindler who is a biblical scholar of sorts. He’s recently published a book named “The Jesus the Jews Never Knew: Sepher Toldoth Yeshu and the Quest for the Historical Jesus”. I have always asserted that there is no evidence of a historical Jesus, despite what Mr. Jacobovici might fabricate. When I heard Mr. Zindler talk about his research into the historical record I was interested at how much of a lack of evidence there was.

I’ve had a few arguments with zealots over the years that have tried to use bad archaeology to ‘prove’ that there was a Jesus. Problem is, all their ‘evidence’ has long been debunked by people more informed than I. Those arguments are also half formed, usually by something they’ve half heard or been told by someone they view as an authority. Zindler goes even more in-depth by examining Jewish literature and thoroughly removes that leg of the argument. Or as I call it, debunking the Jesus myth.

Still, A Negative?

We’ll never really be able to say there is no ‘Jesus’. I mean, I have Jesus that lives down the road from me. We can say there is no Jesus of Nazareth, and I think Zindler does this pretty effectively. So armed with Zindler, Dr. Price, and of course archaeology, I feel prepared to venture into the world of examining the Jesus myth myself.

My first act will be to confront Mr. Jacobovici’s claims of finding the Tomb of Jesus, starting with his newest claim of the Crucifixion Nails. Not only was this apparently shoddy archaeology, but his conclusions are completely out of left field.

This will also let me set a foundation for later debates I’m sure I will be having. I’m actually looking forward to this. I think it will be fun and all arguments aside, very informative.  See you then!

Advertisements
Categories: Historical Jesus | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Post navigation

16 thoughts on “Proving a Negative.

  1. James Wilber

    Because the world just didn’t have enough agenda based science you decided to add a little more?

    Because it’s infuriating to watch religious people violate their own principles just because they think they are making a point you wanted to make sure scientists get to do it as well?

    By your own admission, “you can’t really prove a negative.” Yet you have no problem proclaiming “We can say there is no Jesus of Nazareth.” Which is about as ridiculous as saying there are no stars because no one’s ever touched one.

    When there’s so much out there to actually be discovered you do a disservice to archaeology wasting time on this obviously ideological based crusade.

    Like

    • Well…

      For starts the purpose of this blog is to debunk bad and false archaeology, which a lot of this falls under. I did say you can’t prove a negative, however I can prove that there is no evidence of a Jesus of Nazareth, which is in scope of this blog and my You Tube channel.

      I’m fuzzy on what principles I am violating and other than the specified goals of this blog, I don’t see how this is agenda based. It’s no more agenda based then my debunking of Ancient Astronauts or the Nazca Lines. The only difference is that this is a religious topic and for some reason the crazy claims of said religion shouldn’t be questioned. I predict the same people that giggle at Alien Theorists will be offended when I give their chosen religion the same critical eye.

      Like

    • Jacob Alspaugh

      Ok last post because I have done enough for now but I had to address a couple of points.

      The search for facts should be Archy’s agenda. That means testing claims. Let’s be real here. Jesus is supposed to have founded a religion that has (according to some estimates) over 2 billion followers right now. That’s 1 in 3 people. This is nearly 2000 years after he is supposed to have died.

      Christianity has been perhaps the greatest cultural force in Western civilization, maybe in history all together. It is important.

      So yeah Jesus gets more attention. However, the type of attention is not reserved for him alone. Go research the Founding Fathers of America or Egyptology, scholars are just as hard on theories/claims in those branches of the field. Actually in some ways we are worse.

      Jesus gets more press and more people offended because frankly (I am going to be offensive here) he is a sacred cow.

      Like

  2. James Wilber

    Okay, I’ll bite. So you never heard of this guy named Josephus?

    Like

  3. Josephus (37-c95 AD) was born too late to have been an eyewitness to Jesus, but he was a contemporary of the evangelists who were writing at the time. We also know that the major work attributed to him, the Tesimonium Flavianum, is at best tampered with; at worst a blatant forgery. There are versions of this document that never mention Jesus at all.

    Josephus also authored another work, Wars of the Jews, and fails to ever mention Jesus, John the Baptist, or James the Just (the brother or Jesus). This particular work covers the time period in which these individuals would have lived, yet he never brings up three important historical figures. Josephus doesn’t bother to mention any of the three until his later work twenty years later, Antiquities, which was written at the same time as the last of the canonical gospels.

    So, he was too young to have ever met Jesus, his major work on Jesus is questionable at best, and he’s known to have written other works where he never mentioned Jesus when he should have.

    I don’t count Josephus as evidence.

    Like

    • Jacob Alspaugh

      Ok to keep things above board here, my particular background is history. The evidence for an actual historical Jesus of Nazareth is just lacking. Let me explain.

      Firstly any Christian source is just right out the window. This is for a couple of reasons. Mainly they have a vested interest in proving Jesus of Nazareth existed and that he was the son of God.

      Ok as to the other evidence mentioned. Josephus? If you mean the Book 20, Chapter 9 reference, that’s been debunked for a seriously long time. and frankly the Josephus is considered a suspect source as a whole. Too much medieval tinkering.

      The Dead Sea Scrolls are evidence, but not for Christianity. They are undeniably Jewish and may have been written before Jesus was born. They do not talk about Jesus. What they are great for is textual criticism work on the Hebrew scriptures, what folks call the Old Testament.

      Suetonius? If you mean the passage in the Life of Claudius, it only proves that a Christian cult existed at best. Now it is interesting as a very early mention of a Christian cult; however, it is not that solid of evidence. Well unless you are arguing that Chrestus (Christ) was actually in Rome during the reign of Claudius.

      Tacticus is a complicated issue, however the passage in Annals is seriously questionable at best.

      Look this is what historians do. We look at all the available evidence and don’t trust anyone. Well good historians anyway. We poke holes and dig and generally try to get an accurate picture of what happened. Then we try and frame a narrative. To a good historian, no one is sacred. This sort of thinking is done about all major historical figures.

      Like

  4. James Wilber

    So how about Tacitus? Suetonius? The Dead Sea Scrolls? Yes, you can poke holes in those sources as well, but it starts getting silly when you say all the sources are flawed.

    We take many historical events and personages for granted on slimmer evidence than this. Why is Jesus held to a higher standard?

    Like

  5. It’s not silly if all the “sources” are flawed. Tacitus is a forgery, Suetonius couldn’t have witnessed anything, The Dead Sea Scrolls never mention Jesus.

    If we are taking History for granted just because its there then we’re doing it all wrong. we’re abusing history, often for our own purposes. Debunking bad history is important regardless of who the topic is.

    Why is Jesus held to a higher standard? You mean other than he’s the figurehead of a major religion?

    Did you have the same objections when Jefferson’s history was being examined? Lincoln? Franklin? Gandhi? Mother Teresa? Is it just that I mention Jesus’ name?

    There are lots of good reasons to examine if there was a Historical Jesus, the main one to me being the spread of lies and misinformation validating his existence. There is no evidence of a man named Jesus of Nazareth ever existing. What “evidence” does exist can be deconstructed and shown to be forgeries or tampered with. I’m sorry if that doesn’t jive with people’s view of history, but evidence, valid evidence, trumps people’s opinions any day.

    Like

  6. James Wilber

    So let’s pretend that ALL the evidence is flawed. To prove your hypothesis, that there is no way Jesus of Nazareth existed, you need to provide evidence not only that the evidence is flawed but that it has been changed deliberately. Not only the changes but the motive for doing so. That would be PROOF of the motive, not a guess. So go ahead, I’m waiting.

    Like

    • Well keep watching/reading cause that’s what I’m planning on doing. It’s a big topic and will require a whole lot more then one 13 min vid and one blog post.

      Like

    • Jacob Alspaugh

      Ok wait, proof of a motive? No no no. If Archy shows the evidence for a historical Jesus is lacking then the job is done. Why?

      She is showing that the hypothesis: Jesus of Nazareth was a real person, is not proven. Motive is not the issue.

      However, I can give you the motive. “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” John 20:31. It is no secret that scribes altered and forged documents to improve Christian evangelist attempts. This is a fact. The question is how far did they go.

      Like

  7. James Wilber

    Actually, the hypothesis is “We can say there is no Jesus of Nazareth.” Not, we have no evidence of Jesus of Nazareth.

    Those are two different things. For the former you would need to prove that the existence of Jesus was deliberately fabricated. Since we have multiple non-christian sources, that’s a tall order.

    Like

    • Jacob Alspaugh

      That’s not how it works, the claim that Jesus of Nazareth was a real figure, is the prior hypothesis. Tons of folks base their life on this idea. Hence we have Christians. What archy is doing is challenging the evidence support the preexisting theory.

      This is testing a claim simple as that. Now I grant she brought the whole proving a negative up, but still. Historians and other scholar types do this kind of thing all the time for a variety of sources.

      Now if archy after tackling the evidence offers an alternative theory which covers the topic, then she putting forth a hypothesis.

      Like

  8. Jacob Alspaugh

    Ok let me leave a general comment here. Flat out no one can prove that Jesus of Nazareth did not exist.

    Just like you can’t prove that invisible pink bunnies don’t exist.

    What can been done is the examination of the evidence for Jesus’ existence. If the evidence comes up short then so does the idea. It is simple as that.

    Like

  9. Blanche Quizno

    James, I know you and everyone else is *long gone* by this point – that’s what I get for being late to the party 😡

    No one who becomes a Christian now does so because of meeting any real person. Their “Jesus” is “in their hearts”, you see, and they believe because they have emotional responses to what they’re being told and, thus, feel that it’s what they want. They create a “relationship” in their own minds the same way delusional people who fall in love with celebrities like Tom Cruise or David Letterman do (except that Cruise and Letterman actually exist). They imagine that these celebrities are hiding secret messages just for them in their interviews and movies, and that the celebrities are not only very aware of them, the celebrities love them back! It’s identical with Christians, except that there’s no real Jesus to end up getting stalked or attacked.

    Why should we think that more primitive people, living in ignorant times, who were less educated, typically illiterate, and more superstitious than we are, should have held a *higher* standard of proof/evidence than we do?

    Remember, these are the people who supposedly, upon meeting a *stranger* on the road, told him everything about Jesus and then, when he parroted it back to them, decided that HE was the resurrected Jesus! See Luke 24:13-34.

    Nobody needs a physical Jesus now, except for the purposes of what they believe his existence gets them (eternal life). It’s a selfish motivation. Why should you think anyone else at any other time in history did anything different?

    Like

  10. Dr.H.Davis

    Does Philo mention Gamaliel l? Does he mention the Pharisees, Sadducees, Herodians, Hillel,Shammai, and others of note? Arguments form silence are not proof or evidence.

    Does Kant mention Napoleon ,Washington or Katherine the Great? Does Emerson mention Joseph smith who started Mormonism and countless article were written about this?
    Guess they all don’t exist then!!!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: