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Old 12-20-2019, 11:21 AM
Razncain is offline
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: TX & CO
Posts: 1,786
All that Cecil addresses of Jesus' historicity is just two brief paragraphs, the rest is devoted to the Shroud of Turin, over 20 paragraphs, which he does a great job on. The Shroud, had it been the authentic burial cloth of Christ, would have certainly been an interesting find. I suppose at the time of Cecil's column (1985), after 20/20 and many other TV shows, magazine and newspaper articles later, it was getting plenty of attention, so maybe that's why he devoted that much time to it. I've been hoping after 34 years since that column was written, he'd go back and readdress it, and just leave the Shroud of Turin out of it altogether.

Another reason is many on the SD use "The Master Speaks" and linking to this on other threads when this gets brought up, as if that is the last word that needs to be said about Jesus' place in history, when it really doesn't cover any of the major controversy whatsoever of what scholars have said about those sources he lists.

I understand him giving children a break, by not spilling the beans on Santa Claus to kids, gosh, I loved how he got out of that one, and good for him. But I'm so disappointed in this particular column, and not because I think he finds it more plausible than not that he was a historical person of some sorts, but because he uses Josephus and Tacitus, without mentioning just how spurious many credible scholars still think those quotes are. He doesn't clue in the reader to any of the controversy, and I'm sure he is aware of it.

Scholars have noted how none of the earlier church fathers use this quote from Josephus, many would have wanted and needed it. Some in fact state that Josephus didn't speak of Jesus, at least the one they were looking for. We have to wait a few centuries later till Eusebius before it starts getting quoted from. Some feel like he is the one that forged it into Josephus writings. During the last fifty to seventy years or so (not exactly sure on timeline), some scholars, usually Christian apologists are trying to salvage a few bits of Josephus that they think could possible be authentic after all, while others think the argument is weak considering the evidence.

Tacitus' quote that often gets mentioned, doesn't start to surface until many centuries later, if Remsberg is correct, 1,360 years.

Using them as a source without any elaboration gives readers the impression that important historians were referencing Jesus outside of Christian circles so there must have been some kind of historic Jesus.

The last non-Christian source he brings up is the Talmud. Some Christians (and some Jews) don't claim this one, preferring to think it doesn't refer to their Jesus. Perhaps because it is not very flattering, but that is no reason to reject it. At least it's a non-Christian source and has some similarities to the Gospels, but also goes completely off script, not sure what to make of it.

Something I think worth exploring is him stating: Still, barring an actual conspiracy, 40 years is too short a time for an entirely mythical Christ to have been fabricated out of (heh-heh) whole cloth. I wished he would have elaborated more on this.

Regardless, I hope someday, Cecil will go back and at least devote as much time to it, as he did the Shroud of Turin.