Vexen Crabtree 2015


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Sociology, Theology, Anti-Religion and Exploration: Forcing Humanity Forwards

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Vexen Crabtree 2015

Jesus did not exist

"Jesus Did Not Exist" by Vexen Crabtree

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Mara Bar-Serapion

"Bruce, an often-quoted Christian apologist, noted that this letter was "written some time later than A. D. 73, but how much later we cannot be sure" (Ibid.). He, of course, wants to see this letter as proof of the historicity of Jesus, but by his own admission, the document was written at least 40 years after the time that Jesus allegedly lived and possibly even later. Since Bar-Serapion made no claim in his letter that he had personally witnessed the execution of the "wise king" or had ever even seen him, his statement cannot in any sense be considered firsthand testimony of the historicity of Jesus, as Bruce and other apologists would like us to believe that it is.

We can't even be sure that Bar-Serapion was referring to Jesus. He didn't identify the "wise king" by name, as he did in the case of both Socrates and Pythagoras, so one merely speculates when he says that this is a first-century secular reference to Jesus. How does one make that determination? Messianic pretenders in Judea were a dime a dozen during the era of foreign domination. Josephus referred to some of them, and even the New Testament mentioned two of them in Gamaliel's speech to the Jewish council ( Acts 5:35-36). In Bandits, Prophets, and Messiahs: Popular Movements at the Time of Jesus (Harper & Row, 1985), authors Richard Horsley and John Hanson tell of several Messianic prophets of this period besides Theudas and Judas of Galilee, whom Gamaliel mentioned in his speech. Some of these Messiahs were even named Jesus, and most of them came to ignominious ends at the hands ofeither the Romans or their own countrymen. How, then, do Bruce and other apologists who cite Mara Bar-Serapion's reference to a "wise king" who was executed by the Jews know for a fact that this was an allusion to Jesus of Nazareth and not to some other Messianic prophet of those times?"


You're clutching at straws...

Re: Mara Bar-Serapion

So who else might bar-Serapion be referring to? I quote from, but I would have the same observation:

"While we may agree that the Serapion letter is of marginal value, for it tells us little about the historical Jesus, it does suggest an evaluation of Jesus independent of Christian influence. No Christian would refer to Jesus only as a "wise king," nor say that He lived on in His teaching. [ChilEv.Stud, 450] It is also clear that the writer regarded Jesus as a "real" person like Socrates and Pythagoras - and not as a myth or an invention of Christianity, as the Christ-mythicists would argue."

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