Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday Quote: F.F. Bruce on Jesus Christ

"The historicity of Christ is as axiomatic for an unbiased historian as the historicity of Julius Caesar."

- F.F. Bruce

12 comments :

Sean said...

The moment anyone claims that Julius Caesar walked on the waters of the Rubicon all unbiased historians will be obligated to avoid him as they now can not deal in the supernatural.Can historians talk and write on miracles?

Brian said...

Would unbiased historians then conclude that Julius Caesar therefore didn't exist?

Mr. Julio Martinez, Jr. said...

I love this quote. I'm not too sure about its denotative function "axiomatic," seeing that evaluation (=historical accounts, critical essays, etc.) has to be taken for granted. Sure we can assume that Jesus existed based on the data out there, but that doesn't make it axiomatic, like say properly basic beliefs: 2+2=4. I do, however, believe that based on the logic followed with other historical "non-contested" figures in history, like Julius Caesar, one is on his best to assume that Jesus must have existed. Good stuff.

Sean said...

Do not understand either comment Brian and Julio.
The floods in the Philipines makes me see that that we live cast upon the incertitude of the void. Watching the BBC news I care not if Jesus existed it was a long time ago,for those poor folks bobbing on the flood tide it now that counts.

Bonhoeffer thou shouldst be living at this hour a day late and a penny short.

I find censorship, however benign, not greatly to my liking this is my last word.

Brian said...

Thanks for dropping by, Sean.
Feel free to stop by anytime.

Leslie said...

"The floods in the Philipines makes me see that that we live cast upon the incertitude of the void. Watching the BBC news I care not if Jesus existed it was a long time ago,for those poor folks bobbing on the flood tide it now that counts."

Are you really so blind to the failures of your worldview? Essentially you are saying that whatever happened with Jesus happened a long time ago, so it doesn't matter today. But the problem is that the whole claim about what Jesus did has implications for all future events. If Jesus was resurrected, that's very important for every person there in the Philippines and everywhere else. On the other hand, if there is no God and no purpose and we simply live "cast upon the incertitude of the void" then all of their suffering truly is meaningless. You can breathe in a vacuum about as well as you can have value in a void. So don't come and act like your view gives value to the suffering around the world while it is us pitiful Christians who ignore their plight. Your view does nothing but degrade all humanity to worthlessness. My view not only can help those people on a personal level, but leads to a desire to help them on a practical level. I think those people will take my view over yours any day of the week.

Sorry if this comes off too harshly, but accusing the gospel and by extension those who follow it of being uncaring to the pain of the world is likewise harsh, and - I mean no offense here - strikes me as fairly ignorant.

Lee said...

Would unbiased historians then conclude that Julius Caesar therefore didn't exist?

If the only account known stated that Julius Cesar walked on water - it would provide plenty of reason to doubt the account.

However, I don't deny Jesus probably existed. It is all the miracle claims that cause me pause for thought - many of which would should expect more evidence for them, if they happened.

Lee

Brian said...

many of which would should expect more evidence for them, if they happened.

So if they did happen, what sort of evidence would we be seeing right now?

Chad said...

"So if they did happen, what sort of evidence would we be seeing right now?"

Brian,

I'm hoping Lee answers this one; looking forward to the response.

Later

Lee said...

Hi Chad/Brian

Sorry, I missed this one…

So if they did happen, what sort of evidence would we be seeing right now?

Now some of the miracle claims around Jesus I would not expect to see much good evidence today… maybe expecting good evidence for the turning the water to wine event is asking a little much – not many ‘independent people’ observing the event, and if it truly happened, it is hard to interpret in any other way that Jesus is a miracle worker.

Same goes for the witnesses of the risen Christ…

So what I try and do is test the reliability of the bible by looking else where.

What I was thinking of was that if miracles such as described at the crucifixion really happened (6 hours of darkness, earthquakes and dead saints getting up and making themselves known) I would expect a lot more in the historical record.

Anyone care to disagree?

People who did not believe in Jesus being the son of God could (and should) have observed this event. They certainly should have remembered it (well, the Christians claim ‘their guys’ did remember it – so why not the Jew, Greek or Roman?)

So this is the type of evidence I would expect, rather a bit more independent sources in the written historical record.

What we have is nothing…(except for the bible – and it is the claims of the Christian bible that I am trying to test)

This gives me plenty of reason to doubt the claims in the bible.

If the events we can test fail, why trust what we cannot test?

Would you trust a man who lied to you all the time? Of course not...

Oh, and I got myself into a little bit of a discussion with SteveC over on my blog about this very topic – so if anyone is interested in ‘reading my mind’, make yourself a coffee (because there are a LOT of comments from Steve and I) and take a read over there.

If anyone wishes to continue the discussion over on my blog – more than happy to. I just do not want to repeat myself to much here

http://strawmen-cometh.blogspot.com/2009/09/finely-tuned-cure-to-common-cold.html

Lee said...

Hi Chad

I'm hoping Lee answers this one; looking forward to the response.

Thanks… I think you are my first fan.

Hope to hear your opinions over at my blog (unless Brian wants further waffle from me here?)

Take care

Lee

Brian said...

The darkness at the time of the crucifixion does have support outside the New Testament. See here.

Extrabiblical non-Christian witness to Jesus before 200 AD here.
More extrabiblical references noted here.

Even the Talmud referred to him as a sorcerer; not denying his powers, but ascribing them to the devil.

We do have Jewish, Greek, and Roman sources.

There is a good amount of supporting evidence for the life of Christ. I would also encourage you to actually examine the life of Jesus. He is really the one you should be examining, as he is the one who claimed to be God.

I would suggest listening to the recent audio by Ken Samples on Jesus: Man, Myth, Madman? right here.

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