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Who Are These Caesars We Know So Little About?
Posted: 08 December 2012 02:47 PM   [ Ignore ]
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One of the things I hear in debates about if Jesus ever lived is the comment, “There are some Caesars we have almost no records of, but no one doubts that they existed!”  Now given that the folks saying these things are experts of one form or another, the fact that I’ve never heard them toss out one name as an example reminds me a little too much of Jesse Helms standing before Congress and saying, “Several experts have told me that if people stopped committing sodomy today, AIDS would cease to exist.”  Which we all know is bullshit.

So, who were these guys?

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Posted: 08 December 2012 04:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Fact deniers exist in every academic field and in history the revisionists are rampant. Readers have to be especially careful of authors who twist and spin historical figures and events to fit their own contentions. They often leave out facts to fit their conclusions. You have to root out the evidence for yourself. I’ve used this example many times before but it’s an excellent example of revisionism by using out and out lies. Chris Rada’s book “liers For Jesus” is a great example of how the facts can be tweaked to lead the reader to a false conclusion. Now on to your question concerning the Caesars. There are several original works that outline the lives of the first twelve Caesars, Seutonius and Livy to name two. A good place to start researching the facts is just about anything by Michael Grant. The first book I read by him was “The Twelve Caesars” published in 75’. It is a detailed account from Julius through Claudius and a brief history of the year of the four Caesars after him. Of course every bible scholar and layman is most interested in Tiberius who was Emperor during Jesus’ time and there exists ample writings on Tiberius’s life, e.g. There is no evidence that he was even aware of Jesus or his movement save that there was a disruption in Jerusalem as reported by Pliate. Grant BTW is also a numismatist and has written works on Roman coins so we also know what the Caesars look like. He has written concerning the coins of each emperor from Augustus to Romulus Augustulus, the last emperor deposed by 476CE. I have a small collection of Roman coins as well from Augustus though Trajan. So, we pretty much know about the lives of every one of them as the Romans kept extensive records and histories, embellished of course. BTW, Chris Scarre’s “Chrinicle of the Roman Empire is a reallllllly good book to start with if you’re even remotely interested. Every emperor is listed with a brief history included. So, yeah, we know a lot about the emperors CT!

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Posted: 09 December 2012 01:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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They also miss a crucial point of comparison. A Caesar is a person who can reasonably be assumed to exist. But can a Caesar exist that can do something for which we have no personal contemporary example in reality? It’s possible and probable that you can guess that there was a teapot in Jerusalem in 4 B.C.E., something that we cannot assure but feel confident of. But is it reasonable to conclude that therefore there was a teapot sitting on the dark side of the moon at this time if the majority of people believed it then?

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Posted: 09 December 2012 05:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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We’ve had a number of threads about the so-called “Jesus myth hypothesis”. HERE is one of the better ones.

Short answer: the notion that Jesus was a myth is not credible scholarship.

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Posted: 09 December 2012 07:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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They also miss a crucial point of comparison. A Caesar is a person who can reasonably be assumed to exist. But can a Caesar exist that can do something for which we have no personal contemporary example in reality? It’s possible and probable that you can guess that there was a teapot in Jerusalem in 4 B.C.E., something that we cannot assure but feel confident of. But is it reasonable to conclude that therefore there was a teapot sitting on the dark side of the moon at this time if the majority of people believed it then?


In comparing the Caesars to Jesus, scholars are certain that both existed (see Bart Erhman’s latest book filled with evidence
Proving Jesus’s existence). Let me back up and say that the first true Caesar, Augustus or Octavian, not only existed but molded the Republic into an empire. His biographers also created the myth of his divinity and that he was virgin born of a god. This is how the Jesus deniers twisted the whole idea to proclaim that Jesus was just a rip off of the Divus Augustus myth. the Jesus story stands apart from this however and if you want more read Ehrman. And we can be certain sure that there was no teapot in Jerusalem as there was no tea in Jerusalem. The Chinese were hogging it for themselves until the Dutch and Portuguese traded for it in the 17th Century thank buddha! Great drink tea. Also no teapot on the dark side of the moon. Tea hasn’t reached there yet. Neil Armstrong drank coffee. And yes, I know he landed in the light side.


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Posted: 09 December 2012 07:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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dougsmith - 09 December 2012 05:53 AM

We’ve had a number of threads about the so-called “Jesus myth hypothesis”. HERE is one of the better ones.

Short answer: the notion that Jesus was a myth is not credible scholarship.

Which has zero to do with what I’m asking about.  I’m asking about Caesar’s which have almost no presence in the historical record.

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Posted: 09 December 2012 08:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Zero? So you’re saying the “debates about if Jesus ever lived” have nothing to do with the Jesus myth hypothesis?

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Posted: 09 December 2012 08:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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dougsmith - 09 December 2012 08:17 AM

Zero? So you’re saying the “debates about if Jesus ever lived” have nothing to do with the Jesus myth hypothesis?

I’m not asking about the Jesus myth hypothesis, I’m asking about Roman Caesars, if I wanted to have a debate about Jesus myth hypothesis, I’d have started a thread about that.

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Posted: 09 December 2012 08:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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OK, fair enough. But I think you will probably need contact with some PhD level scholars of Roman history to get a good answer on that one. There were a lot of Roman emperors, some more obscure than others.

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Posted: 09 December 2012 10:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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This is a very interesting subject and I would be interested in why the Roman Caesars are any more impressive than say the long line of Pharaohs that formed the customs of the people along the Nile River.  Every culture has produced leaders by many titles and names.  My kids and I did a pictorial scrap book on the history of Great Britain that took up a lot of wall space in an area of our living room.  I had no TV and we made our own entertainment and we all added certain elements to the project.  It grew out of our interest in Shakespeare sand his interest in the personal lives of many European Kings.  The whole project hit only the surface actions of the heads of state across the globe and the greatest missing area from the west was the area of Central and South America. 

I’m surprised that more emphasis is not placed on which leader across the globe focused on the rights of the individuals.  Leaders and especially the elected leaders seemed to come up with laws exempting those men and women who spoke up for the individual.  The power of the many took over the power of the few.  The voice of the meek but powerful individual who used the word liberty has become the voice of men like Ron Paul.  It was Congressman Paul who gathered those of us who are proud individuals and tried to form a new Party and ran into trouble when the GOP platform tried to prohibit minorities from belonging under the tiny umbrella of a once proud political party.  Dr. Paul chose to stay in the GOP and many of us moved left and became Democrats. 

Millions of individuals are screaming for a Caesar, Pharaoh, honest President or even a handful of honest members of Congress but our screams are ignored in America.  I for one, will not trade a huge federal government for a government based on Jesus or any God.  Romney thought he could convince American voters that his church was open to all Americans but many Mormons joined the church to force a growth behind the Latter Day Saints making it bigger, better and more powerful than any Protestant Church in America.  The church focuses on growth of the church developing a power over the governments.  The oath of baptism asks for a dedication to the church making it bigger, better and more powerful.  Read election results over any mention of Jesus Christ.  Romney lost and I nearly passed out with the enormous breath I took at this loss.  Americans are not as dumb as was shown during the primary debates and elections.  The Mormon Church as a Caesar called “The Prophet” and they are ready and willing to make history.

American voters are scattered all over the subject of government.  We no longer have the time or desire to stand for anything.  We depend on the government to educate us, to give us health care and guidance, to tell us what our children must and must not watch on television.  The government has been given the ability to raise taxes on soft drinks done for our own good. 

Any promise of individual rights and freedoms has been rejected by the American voters.  There is nothing left of the Libertarian Party that had stood up for our individual rights.  We worked so hard to get enough signatures to make the LP a viable party.  Almost from the beginning, the LP wanted a ban on gay marriages, a ban on abortions and a lifting of any ban on drugs. 

Don’t blame a lack of notable Caesars in the 20th Century, blame the lack of academics within the voters in America at this time.

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Posted: 09 December 2012 01:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Did I miss the boat? I thought Coldheart was pointing out how a particular argument is used erroneously in a specific religious debate used to defend the existence of Jesus. Whether actual Caesars exist or not is irrelevant. Is he not questioning the assumed certainty that there existed great leaders whom history didn’t record? I made up the teapot example on the fly. Perhaps, I should have said, “clay tablets” instead. The point is that the supposed saying implies certain knowledge about what is agreed to be absent by the person he was arguing with. Change the word Caesar to “rumors” instead.

“There are some rumors in which we have almost no records of, but no one doubts that they existed!”

It’s believable that rumors exist because we experience samples of them in our lives. But the statement’s quantifier “some” in the context implies particular rumors for which if no one doubts it, they are being contradictory because what evidence is there to put forth of any such example? As soon as you provide it, you’ve technically got the very missing ‘record’.

Moreover,
I was adding that the point of the person’s reason for stating such a thing is to imply that Jesus, as the miraculous entity he was assumed to be by Christian believers is not like a rumor because we do not experience such entities in our presence every day. It is an illegal contrast to reality. If Jesus-like entities are believable, we need samples of it to make the argument sound.

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Posted: 09 December 2012 01:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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While C-T says he wants to discuss the Caesars existence not that of Jesus, it obvious that that question wouldn’t even be thought of, had the Jesus existence idea not been brought up.

It seems apparent to me that the more power and the higher position a a person has, the more likely records will be kept.  We all know a great deal about the existence of, say, George Washington, but we know nothing about nor can even document the existence of some guy who raised chickens in Connecticut in the 1700s.  The Caesers were extremely powerful over an extremely powerful society so it seems clear that their activities would be well documented. 

On the other hand, some itinerant preacher in a backwater society has a much lower probability of having much in the way of well documented records on him being kept.

Occam

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Posted: 09 December 2012 01:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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As to whether Jesus existed or not raises the question that they even use the term, Jesus Christ as a reference to this person. “Jesus Christ” is a title most likely meaning, “By Zeus, anointed or crowned [the leader of man]).” I can imagine it highly possible that a human may have given rise or cause to this sect. But given the times, it seems so probable that the Jews were looked down upon by the Roman populous. And if you wanted to be accepted, but your hero is infamous by name for the uprising upon the collapse of the Temple, dressing him down from the forceful enemy of Rome and victor of the Jews he was granted only the history of qualities agreeable to the Roman sensibilities. Does Simon Bar Kokhba (Aramaic for “Son of a Star”) not make any connection to anyone? Everything clearly points to this guy. His fable was disguised to appeal to the Romans by a good sales team. The popular Jewish establishment must have had some words with these new ideologists for their willingness to bend the truth to fit in. And so this group ran their own campaign and re-established themselves as the Jesus Christ movement.

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Posted: 09 December 2012 02:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Occam. - 09 December 2012 01:26 PM

While C-T says he wants to discuss the Caesars existence not that of Jesus, it obvious that that question wouldn’t even be thought of, had the Jesus existence idea not been brought up.

It seems apparent to me that the more power and the higher position a a person has, the more likely records will be kept.  We all know a great deal about the existence of, say, George Washington, but we know nothing about nor can even document the existence of some guy who raised chickens in Connecticut in the 1700s.  The Caesers were extremely powerful over an extremely powerful society so it seems clear that their activities would be well documented. 

On the other hand, some itinerant preacher in a backwater society has a much lower probability of having much in the way of well documented records on him being kept.

Occam

Which is why the claim that there are Caesars we know less about than we do Jesus (i.e. there’s fewer surviving near-contemporary sources mentioning them than there are of Jesus) nags at me.  It reminds me of Jesse Helms with his anti-sodomy comments, or John McCain in the ‘08 campaign claiming “experts” told him that we could pump meaningful amounts of oil from wells started today in less than five years.  Nobody ever seems to point to these guys and say, “Okay, who said that?”

Pointing out that we have no contemporary records of a Caesar named Gastronicus (totally made up name), but everyone accepts that he lived, would do nothing to prove one way or another that Jesus existed, it does show a concrete example of a historical personage who lived, but no contemporary records survived.  Vague comments about some Caesar don’t really prove anything.  After all, in Chinese history there are named rulers of China whom no one today believes actually existed.

Its akin to an article I read some years back attacking an alternative medicine practitioner.  The article quoted several scientists saying that the practitioner’s claims were (in their words) “bullshit.”  Nowhere did the article give any example of the claims by the practitioner being debunked.  Perhaps the scientists did, and the author of the piece omitted them, but giving the writer the sensationalist line, “He just spouts bullshit.” doesn’t tell me, someone who knew nothing about the practitioner, any information.  I can’t say if the scientist had said, “His claim that crystal water enemas will cure colon cancer are bullshit.” (totally made up example, FYI) that the author of the article wouldn’t have truncated the quote to “He just spouts bullshit.”  I do know that if the scientist hadn’t done a PowerPoint presentation at the conference with the claim of bullshit on it, that the author wouldn’t have been able to use that as a sensationalist hook.  An objective person reading the article that I did would be left with no more information on the subject than they started with, other than they know the names and titles of the people the article mentioned.

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Posted: 09 December 2012 02:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Would the existence of Jesus be more acceptable had Donald Trump stepped up to annoint him?  I’m certain The Donald would be delighted to do this, if we asked.  He is a great disappointment to me as I read several of his books and was impressed with his “Art of the Deal.”  I’ve always wanted to make billions through my own art of any deal but after putting 2 kids through school including the University, My $27.50 would not go far enough. 

I’m not complaining because I end each day laughing with pride that my girls are terrific women and even my ancient 24 year old cat will be sitting for her Christmas Card picture thanking my Albertson’s butchers for their delicious chicken bits made just for her.  No salt and light on the fat. 

I have no problem believing in Jesus and I even sent my kids to a Christian school to learn about the man.  He had some wise advice to offer.  I have a number of brilliant writers including Shakespeare who I tend to quote.  I have many composers who I tend to hum and they give a lot of pleasure.  My favorite Caesar is Sid if you are old enough to rememberr his brand of comedy.

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Posted: 09 December 2012 03:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Did I miss the boat? I thought Coldheart was pointing out how a particular argument is used erroneously in a specific religious debate used to defend the existence of Jesus. Whether actual Caesars exist or not is irrelevant. Is he not questioning the assumed certainty that there existed great leaders whom history didn’t record? I made up the teapot example on the fly. Perhaps, I should have said, “clay tablets” instead. The point is that the supposed saying implies certain knowledge about what is agreed to be absent by the person he was arguing with. Change the word Caesar to “rumors” instead.

Then I missed the boat entirely assuming that he was asking about the existence of conclusive evidence on each Caesar. This is getting confusing. And there are no major leaders that scholars didn’t record or they wouldn’t have been major players in early civilizations, as they all could record their own histories either via pictographs or cuneiform. Are you arguing semantics or evidence of absence to make your point about the historical Jesus or are we discussing something entirely non historical? If so then I’m waaaaay off base.


Cap’t Jack

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