Christian Apologists Often Abuse the “Argument from Silence Fallacy”

Image result for image of queen victoria

“Although [John] Ruskin was, among other things, a social critic who wrote extensively about politics, his autobiography (Praeterita) fails to mention Queen Victoria, even though his life spanned her entire reign.”  –Liam, conservative Christian

 

What is Liam’s argument?  His argument is that just because English art critic John Ruskin never mentions Queen Victoria in his autobiography, that is not proof that Ruskin did not know of the existence of Queen Victoria.  And Liam is correct in this assertion.  In fact, probability tells us that an educated man living and working in England during the reign of Queen Victoria would most certainly have known of her existence.

But does this analogy apply to Philo of Alexandria, a first century Jewish philosopher and contemporary of Jesus, who never mentions Jesus in any of his writings?  Did Philo know about Jesus and simply chose not to write about him (for many possible reasons), or did Philo not write about Jesus because Philo had never heard of this man?

Although Liam is correct that the absence of any mention of Jesus the Great Miracle Worker and Raiser of the Dead in the works of Philo does not prove that Philo knew nothing of Jesus, I assert that there is a big difference between this situation and that of Ruskin and Queen Victoria.  We know that Queen Victoria was a major public figure in the British empire during Ruskin’s life.  We don’t know for certain that Jesus was a major public figure in the Roman Empire, or even in Palestine, during the life of Philo.  No one with even a high school education would claim that Queen Victoria might not have been a famous person in Ruskin’s time, and that this is a possible explanation for the omission of her name in Ruskin’s autobiography.  The same cannot be said about Jesus of Nazareth.  Although most historians believe that Jesus existed, his fame during his lifetime is a matter of debate.

The fact is, the default position for the omission of a person or event from any story is that the author did not know about the person or the event, it is not that he or she did know about the person or event but chose not to mention them.  We assume the author was unaware of the person or event until other evidence proves otherwise.  Therefore, the onus is on Liam, and his fellow Christian apologists, to prove that Philo’s silence (and that of Paul regarding the Jesus of the Gospels) was due to other reasons and not due to the fact that Philo had never heard of a Jesus of Nazareth.

 

 

30 thoughts on “Christian Apologists Often Abuse the “Argument from Silence Fallacy”

  1. Since it’s been said better, here is another link. You say Paul is silent about Jesus, or just about silent?

    How wrong you are.

    “The whole idea that Jesus did not exist started with the fact that Paul does not say very much about his life or ministry. It is instructive to first find out what he did say so here is a list. You can read the relevant snippet biblical text by holding your mouse over the red scripture references.

    Jesus was born in human fashion, as a Jew, and had a ministry to the Jews. (Galatians 4:4)
    Jesus was referred to as “Son of God”. (1 Cor. 1:9)
    Jesus was a direct descendent of King David. (Romans 1:3)
    Jesus prayed to God using the term “abba”. (Galatians 4:6)
    Jesus expressly forbid divorce. (1 Cor. 7:10)
    Jesus taught that “preachers” should be paid for their preaching. (1 Cor. 9:14)
    Jesus taught about the end-time. (1 Thess. 4:15)
    Paul refers to Peter by the name Cephas (rock), which was the name Jesus gave to him. (1 Cor. 3:22)
    Jesus had a brother named James. (Galatians 1:19)
    Jesus initiated the Lord’s supper and referred to the bread and the cup. (1 Cor. 11:23-25)
    Jesus was betrayed on the night of the Lord’s Supper. (1 Cor. 11:23-25)
    Jesus’ death was related to the Passover Celebration. (1 Cor. 5:7)
    The death of Jesus was at the hands of earthly rulers. (1 Cor. 2:8)
    Jesus underwent abuse and humiliation. (Romans 15:3)
    Jewish authorities were involved with Jesus’ death. (1 Thess. 2:14-16)
    Jesus died by crucifixion. (2 Cor. 13:4 et al)
    Jesus was physically buried. (1 Cor. 15:4)”

    http://www.bede.org.uk/jesusmyth.htm

    This is interesting – turns out that Paul says quite a lot specifically about Jesus. Not if Paul had said something like the Jesus he was talking about had hung himself, that the Jesus he was talking about grew up in Rome… well then there would be good reason to assume he was talking about a different Jesus. But everything he says about Jesus is absolutely congruent with the Jesus the Gospels write about because he was, in fact, talking about the same Jesus.

    Please give me a list of other Messianic figures that Philo does mention. Then it would make some sense that he “should” have mentioned Jesus. oops, you can’t, can you?

    Here, thanks to Tim O’Neill – the atheist who, as I mentioned earlier, is sympathetic to your stance here – is the reason Philo’s silence has little to no weight in the discussion:

    “Some others, however, are more reasonable at first glance. Philo Judaeus was a Jew in Alexandria who wrote philosophy and theology and who was a contemporary of Jesus, and who also mentions events in Judea and makes reference to other figures we know from the gospel accounts, such as Pontius Pilate. So it makes far more sense that he should mention Jesus than some poets in far off Rome. But it is hard to see why even Philo would be interested in mentioning someone like Jesus, given that he also makes no mentions of any of the other Jewish preachers, prophets, faith healers, and Messianic claimants of the time, of which there were many. If Philo had mentioned Anthronges and Theudas, or Hillel and Honi or John the Baptist, but didn’t mention Jesus, then a solid argument from silence could be made. But given that Philo seems to have had no interest at all in any of the various people like Jesus, the fact that he doesn’t mention Jesus either carries little or no weight.

    In fact, there is only one writer of the time who had any interest in such figures, who also had little interest for Roman and Greek writers. He was the Jewish historian Josephus, who is our sole source for virtually all of the Jewish preachers, prophets, faith healers, and Messianic claimants of this time. If there is any writer who should mention Jesus, it’s Josephus. The problem for the “Jesus Mythicists” is … he does. Twice, in fact. He does do so in Antiquities XVIII.3.4 and again in Antiquities XX.9.1. Mythicists take comfort in the fact that the first of these references has been added to by later Christian scribes, so they dismiss it as a wholesale interpolation. But the majority of modern scholars disagree, arguing there is solid evidence to believe that Josephus did make a mention of Jesus here and that it was added to by Christians to help bolster their arguments against Jewish opponents. That debate aside, the Antiquities XX.9.1 mention of Jesus is universally considered genuine and that alone sinks the Mythicist case (see below for details.)”

    https://strangenotions.com/an-atheist-historian-examines-the-evidence-for-jesus-part-1-of-2/

    You continue to spout ideas that have been dealt with Gary. Keep on keeping on.

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    1. And you continue to miss the point:

      I did NOT claim that Jesus was non-existant. I AM NOT A MYTHICIST!

      What I claimed is that Jesus, the Great Miracle Worker, who performed more miracles and raised more people from the dead than Moses, Elijah, or Elisha is strangely absent from the writings of Philo, barely mentioned by Josephus, and only vaguely resembles the Jesus Christ of Paul.

      Prove to me that Jesus was famous, Liam. If you can do that, then you have an argument. If Jesus was not famous, then probability favors the reason for Philo’s silence regarding Jesus as being that Philo did not know of him, not that Jesus was not of interest to the topics he discussed.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I know that you’re not a mythicist Gary, and have been careful to make that point. But since you are making the same dumb arguments that a mythicist makes, the points above are valid.

    So you’re wrong about Paul not mentioning much about Jesus – he tells us a great deal about Jesus. He also happens to mention the greatest miracle, Jesus’s resurrection from the dead.

    I have ever thought that Jesus was famous enough in His lifetime to be mentioned by Philo. Why do you think he would have been?

    Do you know Noeleen Maholwana-Sangqu? She had a daily talk show on national TV here in South Africa. She interviewed some international stars: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63YHUpVmptE

    You not being aware of her even though you are alive and actively blogging in her lifetime in no way means that she doesn’t exist, or that her having a national television show is a later, legendary addition to the “mythos of Noeleen.”

    The fact that not a single contemporary American, Russian, Australian historian, reporter or famous blogger made any reference to her or her TV show in no way diminishes the fact that she is a celebrity in South Africa.
    The same goes for dozens of local celebrities that you have never heard of before, and that the American Press, as well as the Australian, Russian and European press, make no mention of.

    And this is in the day of internet and youtube and facebook and texts and cell phones and Netflix – how on earth could there be no mention of Noeleen outside of a small country like South Africa?

    I guess her television-star status must be a fabrication, even though there probably was a local South African called Noeleen.

    The same goes for Salamina Mosese, Brickz (sentenced to prison), Mendoza (died a few years ago).

    Now imagine that the internet crashes, and we all lose 90% of the all the news reporting in the whole world. What would the chances be of there being any references to Noeleen or local celebrities? I’m sure there are big deal Texas names that I have never heard of or some minor deal people in Florida that have only ever made the local news.

    the other thing that is so silly about “Philo must have mentioned Jesus if Jesus was a miracle worker” is that, while I doubt Philo had even heard much about Jesus since Philo lived in Egypt, even if he had heard about Jesus, and Jesus HAD in fact performed the many, many miracles that he is reported as having performed, Philo obviously didn’t believe the reports, much like you don’t Gary.

    At the end of 3 years in ministry, only 120 disciples were in the upper room on the day of Pentecost. The multitudes – let’s assume tht 10 000 people followed Jesus while He was in Galilee and Jerusalem. At the end of the 1st century BC, in a population of about 4 – 5 million citizens, those multitudes only account for about 0.25% of the population of Rome.

    Why would Philo report about some Nazarene he didn’t believe was anything more than a rabble-rouser, assuming he had even heard about Him?

    Jesus’ fame only expanded and exploded after His death and Resurrection. It’s a fame that makes little to no sense if he just died. It makes far more sense if He rose from the dead.

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    1. Your holy Bible says that on “Palm Sunday” thousands of Jews greeted Jesus as their new King. The chief priests were so shocked that they complained that “all the world” has gone after him…yet Philo is silent on this would be king.

      I don’t buy your argument.

      The default position is that Philo didn’t mention Jesus because he didn’t know about him. He didn’t know about him because Jesus was not the big deal the Gospels make him out to be. This is more evidence that the Gospels are not reliable sources of historical information.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is also how your faulty logic works: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-09-15/tech-industry-disruption-ideas-that-shouldnt-see-light-of-day/8948220

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-08-16/cuba-diplomats-being-deafened-by-covert-sonic-devices-theories/8812578

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-08/south-korean-election-candidates/8508008

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-01-20/the-bizarre-history-of-us-presidential-inaugurations/8194676

    It seems that Matt Brevan knows nothing about Vladimir Putin since he makes no reference to him in these four articles. I checked. I also doubt he knows anything about Reagan, either George Bush or Nelson Mandela. I would think that a political journalist would mention these figures if he knew about them. What about Brad Pitt? No mention of Pitt mans that he didn’t know about him.

    Brevan makes no reference to Donald Trump’s television career, his books, or Trump Towers in thee articles.

    So it’s clear to me that the Donald Trump that Matt Brevan writes about isn’t the same Donald Trump that was a TV star.

    By your reasoning, it’s obvious that it’s a legendary idea that the TV star became a president. It must be two different Trumps that are being written about here.

    I mean, why on earth wouldn’t Brevan mention Trump’s career on the Apprentice in every single article he wrote? He should have! For this reason, I’m skeptical that he’s writing about the same person.

    It’s such a dumb argument.

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    1. No, its the logical argument. The default position for an author’s silence regarding a person or event is that the author did not know about the person or event. We hold the default position until new evidence demonstrates that the author did know the person or event.

      It’s basic logic, Liam. Look it up.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Just late last night, I posed a question to Ehrman (so I haven’t gotten his response yet), then this morning, I just now read *this* post.

    So – I’m gonna post the question exactly as it is posted on Ehrman’s blog:
    (Note: the asterisks are mine, to draw attention to Ehrman’s main point)

    ============== question to Ehrman below ===============

    Dr Ehrman –

    I realize this is an ancient post, but I was looking up info on Paul, and my googling led me here…

    Now, about this: “The other problem is that most of the details in the accounts of Acts, contradictory or not, are absent from Paul’s own maddeningly terse description of what happened: he makes no references to being on the road to Damascus, being blinded by the light, falling to the ground, or hearing Jesus’ voice. ***The reason he provides no detail is not difficult to discern: the recipients of his letters had surely heard lengthy and gratifyingly full descriptions of the event in their earlier converse with Paul when he had first shared with them his gospel message, and for a long time after.*** But as outsiders we have been largely left in the dark.”

    Many times, I have seen you (and a great number of other skeptics and scholars) remark how Paul never makes mention of an “empty tomb”… Or, of the virgin birth, or of much of a great deal about the “life and times” of Jesus.

    Yet, in those cases, it is always used to push an argument that Paul knew little or nothing of the historical Jesus.

    But here, in this quote above, you seem to employ a double-standard: Paul makes no mention of his Damascus road experience, yet, *The reason he provides no detail is not difficult to discern: the recipients of his letters had surely heard lengthy and gratifyingly full descriptions of the event in their earlier converse with Paul when he had first shared with them his gospel message, and for a long time after.”

    Arguments that Paul doesn’t talk about the historical Jesus – because, after all, his audiences were *already* Christian, thus, had already *heard* the story of the historical Jesus – are very easily dismissed by you.

    So, why the double standard?

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    1. I agree. Ehrman is using a double standard.

      Logic tells us to assume the default position when an author is silent on a particular issue: He/she did not know about this issue.

      This default position is not a statement of fact. We cannot say as fact that Paul did not know about the Damascus Road appearance or that Paul did not know much about the historical Jesus. It is simply our tentative position until better evidence comes along to clarify the issue.

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  5. Well, in regards to Paul’s Damascus Road experience, we *do* have other evidence.

    Paul says “For you have heard of my former manner of life in Judaism, how I used to persecute the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it..” (Gal 1)

    He goes on to say “But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, was pleased 16 to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood, *nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went away to Arabia, and __returned__ once more to Damascus*. (Gal 1)

    What does Paul say? He didn’t go to Jerusalem, but rather – HE *RETURNED* to Damascus — which means, Damascus was the place he was, to start with.

    So, we at least know Paul’s conversion experience did indeed involve a time at Damascus, at least.

    Paul is, as Ehrman says, writing to people who *already knew the story*. And, I would totally agree with Ehrman in this. And, I agree with Ehrman that, for this reason, there is *no* reason for Paul to go off and re-tell the whole story again.

    But, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander…

    Pauls own conversion experience – whatever it was – would be of utterly no significance at all to someone who did not already know the “Jesus story”. Paul “converted” from one thing to another – and – if the people he was writing to did not even understand anything about Jesus, as an historical person, then Paul’s conversion to being one who now believes that Jesus was Messiah would to totally irrelevant.

    It’s like this: An uninvolved person – say, some traveling Hindu – could hear the story of Paul’s “conversion”, but unless he knew about Jesus, and who Jesus was, and what Jesus represented, and that Jesus had been resurrected, then Paul’s conversion is utterly meaningless to the Hindu.

    But, just as Paul is writing to those who already know *his* story, he is also writing to those that equally already *know* the story of Jesus. Hence, Paul can get away with simply stating a creed – Jesus was crucified, died, buried, resurrected – when bringing up the topic of resurrection. There is simply no need to re-tell a story his readers already know.

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    1. Paul is, as Ehrman says, writing to people who *already knew the story*. And, I would totally agree with Ehrman in this. And, I agree with Ehrman that, for this reason, there is *no* reason for Paul to go off and re-tell the whole story again.

      Assumption. We do not know what the actual historical “story” was so we do not know that Paul’s audience already knew about it. Paul says his conversion involved Damascus. Period. That is the most we can say.

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    2. But, just as Paul is writing to those who already know *his* story, he is also writing to those that equally already *know* the story of Jesus.

      This may be true, but for all we know the historical Jesus Story that had been “handed down” to Paul was very different from the story (stories) handed down to the non-eyewitness, anonymous, authors of the Gospels.

      Bottom line: Skeptics cannot prove that Paul did not know about the historical Jesus, and Christians cannot prove that Paul did.

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  6. Well, I’d have to agree with you in principle on this…

    But, “assumption” doesn’t enter into it, Gary. This is called “reconstructive history”, and it has to do with PLAUSIBILITY or IMPLAUSIBILITY.

    If you’re going to attempt to be talking like an historian, you really really need to get those words into your vocabulary. Seriously. Because that’s what it’s about.

    And, I find it infinitely more plausible that Paul’s readers already *knew* of an historical Jesus that had (for example) been buried – and the tomb found empty – than I do that (like Ehrman thinks) the whole “empty tomb” scenario was just made up (for example).

    It is correct that skeptics can’t “prove” that Paul didn’t know of the historical Jesus, and that Christians can’t “prove” that he did. But – again – the words one must use is “plausible” or “implausible”. And, with information as Liam mentioned earlier, or, with info that can be found in this article – (see http://www.ourpassover.com/the_earliest_gospel.pdf) – I find it far, far more plausible that Paul knew of the historical Jesus, probably going back both to his own life in Jerusalem, but also, to his first meeting with Peter.

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    1. And, I find it infinitely more plausible that Paul’s readers already *knew* of an historical Jesus that had (for example) been buried – and the tomb found empty – than I do that (like Ehrman thinks) the whole “empty tomb” scenario was just made up (for example).

      If you have been paying attention, I have already stated recently on this blog that I believe that Jesus was probably buried in a tomb owned or borrowed by Joseph of Arimathea. So your fight is with Ehrman, not with me. But keep in mind: Just because Paul’s readers may have known that Jesus was buried in a rock tomb does NOT mean that they knew anything about Jesus being born of a virgin, walking on water, raising Lazarus from the dead, etc..

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    2. – I find it far, far more plausible that Paul knew of the historical Jesus, probably going back both to his own life in Jerusalem, but also, to his first meeting with Peter.

      The fact that Paul does not mention Joseph of Arimathea and his rock tomb is not a big enough issue for me to doubt that Paul knew about the historical Jesus. His failure to mention or infer in any of his writings that Jesus was born of a virgin does make me doubt his knowledge of the historical Jesus (historical, at least, as presented in Matthew and Luke).

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  7. Gary, it seems that you’re engaging in double-speak here.

    Philo probably hadn’t heard about Jesus. Why he would mention anything about someone he hadn’t heard about makes no sense.

    Paul had heard about the only Jesus in the first century reputed to have risen from the dead. This is the same Jesus that the Gospels wrote about. So Paul and the Gospels are writing about the same Jesus. As I’ve shown above and you’ve just ignored, Paul tells us quite a lot about this Jesus.

    That’s logical. It all follows.

    So why do you pull an illogical move and insist that Philo should have written about Jesus as if that means anything when you’re arguing that Philo didn’t know about Jesus?

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    1. If Jesus was as famous as the Gospels say he was, I suspect (but cannot prove) that Philo would have said something about him…and Josephus would not have limited his comments about this Great Miracle Worker to just a few sentences.

      I agree with you, Liam. I believe that the reason Philo didn’t mention Jesus is because Jesus was a nobody during his lifetime. I think that the Jesus of Paul and the Jesus of the Gospels probably was the same person, but I question whether Paul knew that Jesus was born of a virgin, walked on water, raised Lazarus from the dead, and many other alleged “facts” stated in the Gospels.

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  8. If I follow you correctly, you are saying that it does make sense to assert that Trump the president of the united states is a different, legendary figure that has grown out of Trump the reality-television star?

    And it makes sense that Brevan knows nothing about Putin, Reagan, Bush etc? And somehow this means that Putin, Reagan, Bush etc didn’t exist? Or that we can’t know much about the historical figures since everything we know about them is mainly mythical content?

    huh?

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  9. The thing about Philo is that the guy lived in Egypt, and died in about 50 CE. Heck, even Paul’s letters hadn’t had time to get down that far by that time, provided he had, in fact, written anything considered “copyable” by 50 CE.

    So I don’t know why it’s even considered realistic that Philo would have talked about Jesus. Seems like the “migration” of Christianity between 33 and 50 was mainly northward…. Hard to say if Philo would even have heard of Jesus…

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    1. I agree with you. I highly doubt that Philo ever heard of Jesus of Nazareth, the greatest Jewish prophet and miracle worker in the entire history of the Jewish people…because Jesus was not a great prophet and miracle worker! He was an insignificant nobody during his lifetime. The tales of his fantastical miracles, his ability to raise people from the dead in front of large crowds of witnesses, and his triumphal entry into Jerusalem surrounded by thousands of cheering Jews…never happened. These details are LITERARY/THEOLOGICAL FICTION!

      That is the most PLAUSIBLE explanation why Philo of Alexandria never mentions Jesus in his writings.

      I can’t prove it, but that is what the evidence suggests.

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  10. Oh, I don’t know if that’s the most plausible reason or not.

    Philo was a philosopher, not an historian. The biggest reason Philo wouldn’t write about Jesus is that it simply wasn’t what Philo wrote about.

    Just because somebody existed contemporarily with Jesus doesn’t mean that Jesus would necessarily have been of any interest to them, even if they had indeed heard of him.

    Heck, the only reason YOU write of Jesus is because you’re a very religious person.

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    1. The Jesus of the Gospels was a major social/political figure during the reign of Pilate. Philo says a lot about Pilate. Nothing about Jesus.

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  11. Well, as you know, I don’t do Gospels…

    But, Philo wrote what he wrote because he was part of a political embassy to Caligula. He wasn’t writing a “history of the region”. He was writing about issues with Roman governance. And, that’s pretty much *all* he was writing about.

    If Jesus were considered a “political figure” (because of his “Messiah” status), it is hardly something Philo would have wanted to bring up in the case against Roman governance. Philo would, in effect, have to be saying “we had a leader come forth – a Messiah – who was to lead us to freedom, and you Romans executed him”. And, of course, the Romans would hardly see that as “abusive”. Their job, after all, was to maintain their own rule. Thus, they could use the “Messiah event” in their own rationalization of their treatement of the Jews: “As long as you people are willing to revolt, we’re going to be willing to do whatever is necessary to put down such revolts”.

    So, it would hardly have been in Philo (and the embassy’s) favor to mention Jesus at all. In fact, it would be detrimental to their purpose to do so: they’d be supplying the Romans with reason to continue a harsh governance.

    If Philo were writing an history of the region, then an absence of mention of Jesus would be conspicuous. But, that’s not at all what Philo were doing.

    I don’t really know if the portrayal of the Gospels is correct, in indicating that Jesus had thousands of people supporting him as he entered Jerusalem (for instance). But, whether the Gospels are correct on that point, or are not, it still doesn’t change this one thing: It would have been utterly contrary to Philo (and the embassy’s) purpose to write about a Messiah that was supposed to set them all free from Roman rule.

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    1. Don’t buy it. Jesus was the greatest threat to Roman rule prior to the Roman-Jewish wars in the late 60’…if the Gospels are to believed. Philo could have boasted to Caesar how the Jewish authorities in Jerusalem had helped Rome thwart an attempted coup. But…he didn’t.

      Jesus may have existed, but he was not the Big Cheese the Gospels make him out to be. That is why Philo says nothing about this peasant. He was a nobody during his lifetime. The Gospels are Greco-Roman religious biographies: a kernel of truth wrapped in a whole lot of fiction.

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  12. Well, as you know, I don’t do gospels.

    But, I think your rationale for Philo possibly mentioning Jesus is really pretty absurd.

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    1. Yes, logical thinking is absurd to fervent believers of the supernatural.

      Let’s look at Josephus. If the resurrected Jesus was popping up all over Palestine to multiple individuals and groups of people, including one group of over 500 people, why is Josephus completely silent on these dramatic events??? Here is the standard Christian spin:

      Lee Strobel, evangelical Christian apologist:

      Where would this encounter [of the resurrected Jesus] with five hundred people have taken place?

      Gary Habermas, evangelical Christian theologian:

      The Galilean hillside. …Matthew does say Jesus appeared on a hillside; maybe more than just the eleven disciples were there.

      Strobel:

      Wouldn’t it be likely that the historian Josephus would have mentioned something of that magnitude?

      Habermas:

      No. I don’t think that is necessarily true. Josephus was writing sixty years afterward. How long do local stories circulate before they start to die out? So either Joseph didn’t know about it, which is possible, or he chose not to mention it, which would make sense because we know that Josephus was not a follower of Jesus. You can’t expect Josephus to start building the case for him.

      The Case for Christ, p. 253

      Gary: Good grief!

      Earlier in the book Strobel quoted another evangelical expert who said that oral stories in Antiquity remained intact for five hundred years, therefore we can trust the Gospels who even liberals will agree were written within 40-70 years of the alleged events.

      Now another evangelical expert tells us that stories in Antiquity started dying out around sixty years after the event in question, and this is probably why Josephus doesn’t mention that five hundred people in first century Galilee claimed that a dead corpse appeared to them in a superhero-like body at one time and place!

      Which is it, Christians?

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  13. Gary, there’s no “which is it” to this.

    Every Christian, every secular historian is going to have a different view on this. You get all orgasmic thinking you’ve got some great “gotcha”, when all you’ve got is Yet Another Argument From Silence.

    Maybe it means something, maybe it doesn’t. But, for all we know, there might well be some yet-undiscovered document that will actually provide something more conclusive. It’s not as if every possible archaelogical find has already been made. They find new stuff every day.

    Try to calm down. Have a beer. And try to remember that you’re talking about something that is inconclusive, even according to scholars.

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    1. I’m simply responding to your silly ad-hoc excuses for why the greatest Magician in the history of humankind is not mentioned by one single non-Christian contemporary.

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  14. There’s no excuses necessary. We know about Jesus from Josephus and Paul. And it’s entirely irrelevant that Paul was a believer: it’s not as if he were born that way. So, he’s fully a contemporary of Jesus who’s writings are indeed considered historical.

    YOU think it’s significant, but then, you deal daily in The Bogus. By your way of thinking, no writings about Sparta could be valid unless they were written by non-Spartans.

    So, it’s YOU that is being totally silly here. And, this is why it’s hard to take you seriously.

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    1. Wrong again. I never said that Jesus of Nazareth did not exist. What I said is that the evidence SUGGESTS that Jesus, the Greatest Magician of all time along with his traveling Show of Marvels and Wonders did not exist.

      Like

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