Sunday, December 18, 2011

Graham Stanton on the Significance of Jesus

"The early Christians' opponents all accepted that Jesus existed, taught, had disciples, worked miracles, and was put to death on a Roman cross. As in our day, debate and disagreement centred largely not on the story but on the significance of Jesus. Today nearly all historians, whether Christians or not, accept that Jesus existed and that the gospels contain plenty of valuable evidence which has to be weighed and assessed critically."

- Graham Stanton, The Gospels and Jesus, p.145


Brett Strong said...

“Today nearly all historians, whether Christians or not, accept that Jesus existed and that the gospels contain plenty of valuable evidence which has to be weighed and assessed critically."

Hey Brian: of course virtually all PhD ancient historians (world wide!) accept Jesus as a mere man lived; and? …just like all space alien group members accept that space aliens are around us right now; and?

Both are mere beliefs Brian and nothing more …neither one can be proven empirically or circumstantially (remember Brian: the entire 1st century knows nothing of the NT Jesus, totally nothing) …therefore Jesus as a mere man or miracle worker and space aliens will forever remain mere beliefs; no big deal …

Remember Brian: “…any item of [ancient] historical knowledge comes from forming a HYPOTHESIS” J P Moreland

And that’s exactly what the NT Jesus is; a hypothesis (even as a mere man!) …and laughably when a mere hypothesis is agreed upon by the majority of PhD ancient historians, they are allowed to call it an historical fact …when in reality all ‘PhD Jesus historical facts’ (and I do mean all of them; be them by William Lane Craig or Bart Ehrman!) are mere hypotheses (guessing, pure imagination—because the ENTIRE 1ST CENTURY we have in our hands or at archeological sites, JESUS DOES NOT EXIST IN IT, thus Jesus will forever be a hypothesis like space aliens; no big deal ;-) …and this shocking truth I and my book are telling the world

Brett Strong …the word’s leading skeptic against Christian dogma strikes again …

PS: "The early Christians' opponents all accepted that Jesus existed, taught, had disciples, worked miracles, and was put to death on a Roman cross”

2 John 1:7 states that MANY PEOPLE were saying that Jesus Christ never came to earth “in a real body”! And according to PhD ancient historians, this is going on in the 1st century! Hmmm? :-)

note: I don’t know if you will have the willpower to post this, but anyways—you’re awesome Brian! And Merry Christmas to you and your family …hey Brian, I might go to church this weekend to enjoy chorus sung Christmas Carols and the Nativity reenactment …awesome fictional stuff to make Christmas feel even more Christmasy!

Seth said...

Strong, have you listened to the atheist radio host "Infidel Guy" and Bart Ehrman discuss the existence of Jesus? You can listen to it here:

Unknown said...

Mr. Strong,

To compare the professional historian's claim that Jesus existed, to an alien group's claim that aliens exist discredits anything you have to say about this topic. In terms of history, claiming that Jesus existed is far more credible since we know that human beings in general exist and Jesus is claimed to be a human being! (Leave aside claims of divinity for the moment.) We don't on the other hand know that extra terrestrials exist! Does that make sense? You are comparing the claim that a particular human existed when we know humans exist, to the claim that some aliens exist when we don't know that aliens exist. It's a terrible comparison.


Unknown said...

Oh, another thing. You are misunderstanding 2 John 1:7. The author is not referring to Jesus-myth proponents in the modern sense. He is rather refuting Docetism. There is a HUGE difference.

Ex N1hilo said...

I have heard Brett discuss his ideas about the historicity of Jesus on the Unbelievable and Stand to Reason podcasts. The point he repeats over and over--that there is no evidence that Jesus ever existed--is just silly.

The evidence is put to him and he simply dismisses it. That's not evidence! I get to decide whether something counts as evidence or not! This is how he thinks.

Pat said...

Ex N1hilo do you know where I could find those podcasts? Or what they're names are?


Ex N1hilo said...


Brett was a guest on Unbelievable on July 10, 2010. A description of the show is found here:{05590F8C-D99D-4922-8939-4BDD98F9525F}

And it can be downloaded here:

Also, he called in to Stand to Reason 3 times that I am aware of: at about 01:20:00. at about 00:26:40. at about 00:45:58.

M! said...

B. Strong brought up docetism, which I have written about quite a few times and want to share this with you guys:

An underlying motivation in Docetism being read into the Passion Narratives by some may have simply been the utter disgust stemming from the idea of a crucified god. An ancient and infamous inscription depicting a human crucifixion victim whose head was in the shape of a donkey’s is a perfect illustration of this distaste. The caption makes clear it is a mocking parody of Jesus: “Alexamenos worships his god".

Martin Hengel talks about another anti-Christian caricature discovered on a tile in Oroszvar, Hungary dating from 350 AD. It feature a pathetic figure “dragging a Latin cross” with his “tongue hanging out under its weight”. These anecdotes help us to better comprehend the shocking element to the centerpiece of the early Christian kerygma (evangelistic message).

We can see Paul respond to some of these issues in his epistles as well as some of the earliest apologists. One of my favorite comes from Melito of Sardis, circa 160. Melito employs beautifully polished rhetoric to describe something horrid and at the same glorious – at least in the eyes of the earliest Christians:

"He that hung up the earth in space was Himself hanged up; He that fixed the heavens was fixed with nails; He that bore up the earth was borne up on a tree; the Lord of all was subjected to ignominy in a naked body-God put to death! The King of Israel slain with Israel's right hand! … The Lord was exposed with naked body: He was not deemed worthy even of covering; and, in order that He might not be seen, the luminaries turned away, and the day became darkened because they slew God, who hung naked on the tree. … For, because the people quaked not, the earth quaked; because they were not affrighted, the earth was affrighted. Thou smotest thy Lord: thou also hast been smitten upon the earth. And thou indeed liest dead; but He is risen from the place of the dead, and ascended to the height of heaven, having suffered for the sake of those who suffer, and having been bound for the sake of Adam's race which was imprisoned, and having been judged for the sake of him who was condemned, and having been buried for the sake of him who was buried. … This is He who made the heaven and the earth, and in the beginning, together with the Father, fashioned man; who was announced by means of the law and the prophets; who put on a bodily form in the Virgin; who was hanged upon the tree; who was buried in the earth; who rose from the place of the dead, and ascended to the height of heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father."

I do apologize for quoting such a lengthy portion of this but I find the above to be absolutely beautiful – and absolute dynamite.

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