How’s the crazy one?
Posted: 03 February 2017 10:00 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I’m listening to Richard Carrier’s On The Historicity of Jesus, with lots of great words, really good words. One is “Schizo-typal”. He’s talking about the elements of religious cults in the 1st century. One was, people who hallucinate and babble (speak in tongues), tended to get pushed to the margins, then congregated and formed these cults. More recently, in a talk from Martin Prechtel, who calls himself a shaman, talked about how his culture used to do the same. Instead of shunning these people and putting them in asylums, they would honor them and listen to their dreams and visions.

Carrier, in a very short passage, about 5 minutes, mentions that the modern world is atypical. Treating these people as sick is not what most cultures have done. Obviously I have a bias that there is something wrong with them, because that’s MY culture. OTOH, I do like hanging out with the artists and the weirdos. Carrier talks of this too. “Normals”, as he calls them, will gravitate to these groups for social or sometimes physical support, and begin to emulate the behaviors, perhaps lying about it, or maybe fooling themselves into the belief, to gain acceptance in the group. This type of faking it can be extremely difficult to study.

Not sure if I have a question or topic here, but thought you all might be interested.

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Posted: 03 February 2017 11:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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One thing I think most people don’t realize, and I wonder if scholars too miss this, is that people 2000 years ago by and large were extremely ignorant about the world around them. Nowadays, with all our fancy technology and years of public schooling, people, even college educated ones, can be fooled. Imagine then people with literally zero education, almost zero understanding of the world. It’s no stretch to think how easily false notions could arise about a person. For example, one day this guy is seen walking on water. We’d call it a mirage from the heat. One person talks to another and rumors spread, and off we go. Mix that with the guy being a preacher trying to help desperate people living a subsistence lifestyle.

Mix THAT with the fact that most communication was spoken, and we all know how speech is such an ineffective way to convey information, and it’s easy to see how rumors turn into “shared knowledge”.

[ Edited: 03 February 2017 11:17 AM by CuthbertJ ]
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Posted: 03 February 2017 01:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I meant “Who’s the crazy one”. I don’t really care “how” they are.

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Posted: 03 February 2017 02:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Those are good points CJ, and I’ve noticed Carrier doesn’t mention it too much. The transfer of info by speech, yes, and also that even written word was copied by hand. That gets into deliberate editing and other things historians CAN do, but there’s not much they can do about verbal transfer. They have to rely on what is documented about how people were acting and then compare that to what we know about those things now. We are starting to do things like hook people that say they speak in tongues up to brain scanners. We’ve done long sociological studies on actual cults with hallucinating leaders. But I guess it is just too speculative to make assumptions about what people thought about someone who claimed to have a vision.

The argument he is developing is; the earliest writings of Paul are about his visions and about a spiritual being. Then there’s sort of a gap. The gospels were written in that time, but we know almost nothing about the writers themselves, and very little about the communities reading them. Then the commentary on them starts up in the mid 2nd century, and that’s when you get people saying he was a real historical figure. This process, called euhemerization, was not uncommon at the time. There are other gods that the process is easier to trace and thus easier to show that the god wasn’t based on a historical person. Jesus is particularly troublesome because of the larger than normal amount of redaction of the data about him.

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