Was Jesus a Real Person?


#1

Was Jesus of Nazereth an actual historical figure? Or was he just a myth created from pagan stories and used to control the masses? A lot of atheists say theat Jesus is just a bunch of pagan myths and that the Bible was written by Roman nobles to fool dumb commoners into submission.

Questions: :confused:

Is there proof for an actual Jesus outside of the New Testament?

Can the New Testament be considered an accurate historial document written in the time it presents itself?

Were people such as Pilate, Caiphas, John the Baptist, Simon Peter, Paul of Tarsus, and John of Patmos real or were they just made up?

How do we know that the Bible compiled at Nicea is accurate? There were a LOT of exra texts (Gospel of Peter, Jubilles, ect.) that were thrown out. Why?

Why is the Gospel of John so diffirent from the other three Gospels? (ie the Document Q argument)

Thank You for Posting


#2

There are a fair number of extra-biblical references from historic figures that attest to the fact that the man we call “Jesus” walked this earth and was crucified. It is historically unassailable. All anyone can challenge is whether Jesus was Divine. Given that 11 million early Christians chose to die for their faith and belief in Jesus I would say that that its safe to assume that none of these early saints of the Church had even a shadow of a doubt about Christ’s divinity.

Check into
Josephus
Tacitus
Suetonius
Julius Africanus
Origen
Pliny the Younger

As for the Romans controlling the masses through engineering a myth I would say that the seat of Christendom in Rome makes the Romans either extremely incompetent in promoting myths or God manifest His Divine Justice in the matter to make it clear that God was mightier than the Roman empire.

If one studies pagan myths one will discover that most came out of heretical teachings of heretics and “me too” copy cats of the Christian Faith not the other way around.

James


#3

There is substantial historical evidence to suggest that a person named Jesus did exist. Very few historians would disagree.

Can the New Testament be considered an accurate historial document written in the time it presents itself?

Depends on who you talk to. The Gospels were written well after the crucifixion of Jesus and were probably not written by first-hand witnesses.

Were people such as Pilate, Caiphas, John the Baptist, Simon Peter, Paul of Tarsus, and John of Patmos real or were they just made up?

Don’t know about all of them, but there is sufficient historical evidence to show that Pilate, Peter, and Paul existed. (I would also assume the rest).

How do we know that the Bible compiled at Nicea is accurate? There were a LOT of exra texts (Gospel of Peter, Jubilles, ect.) that were thrown out. Why?

If you believe that the Holy Spirit guides the church to teach without error, as in the Council of Jerusalem, then logically you would also believe that the Holy Spirit guided the church when compiling the Bible.

Why is the Gospel of John so diffirent from the other three Gospels? (ie the Document Q argument)

Probably because the Gospel of John was written much later than the synoptic Gospels. Since the material in the other Gospels were already common knowledge, there was no need to write the same thing over again


#4

Pat. Anyone can say that about anything. I can question whether George Washington was real, or King Arthur, or Leif Erickson, or Vlad the Impaler, or the Pharoahs of ancient Egypt. Atheists, desperate to believe their own theories as fact, will say anything. Proving it is a different story. Besides, how can you be an atheist and believe in Jesus Christ. Talk about a contradiction! They have to say that, pure and simple. Doesn’t mean it is true.

Remember, Luke’s gospel in the infancy narrative places Jesus in historical perspective. Doesn’t he write that Jesus’ birth came in the time of the Roman emperor Caesar Augustus, when Herod was king of Judea, Philip tetrarch of Iturea, and Pilate was procurator. That is dating the birth of Jesus. It places Jesus in a historical framework.

James gave some good references. No need to add.

Why is John’s gospel so different? First, John of Patmos is John, the beloved disciple who stood with Mary on Calvary. He is the John that Jesus said would not suffer the fate of the others.

Understand that each of the other three gospels was written well before John’s and for different audiences. Mark wrote for a Roman audience, Matthew for a Jewish audience, and Luke for a Greek and Gentile audience. Their style will be different as each of those audiences wanted to understand different things. The Greeks loved stories, details, etc, hence the infancy narrative. The Romans could care less, they just wanted the facts, the essentials. John’s gospel, written later was directed to the emerging Christian “church” and was more theological and less historical in nature. All were written though to show that Jesus of Nazareth is the savior promised by God in Genesis. And all four gospels complement each other.

And there is no evidence that John had any exposure to the other three in their completed form. Did he, I’m not sure we know.

A quick thumbnail.


#5

Yes. I suggest you read a well written book called “The Case for Christ” by a former non-believer who is now Protestant, Lee Strobel. It addressed many of your questions in detail, yet it is very easy to read.

I noticed that your profile says you are Catholic. In addition to learning more about the historical aspects of Jesus and the Bible, I also suggest you work on developing your personal prayer life. Prayers for you as you ask these questions. :gopray:


#6

Your profile says you are Catholic. How can you be Catholic and wonder if Jesus and the Apostles were real or not??


#7

It depends what you mean by accurate. One reason the bible was compiled was to establish which scriptures could be read in church. The New Testament books were chosen on the basis of what had already been used in the churches in the different parts of the world, churches founded by the apostles and those who had been taught by them. Also, the writings had to be by the apostles or disciples of Jesus or by their direct followers. Very good books like the Didache or the Shepherd of Hermes were accurate but didn’t fit this criteria. Many other ‘gospels’ were written later or were fake or taught heresies. This whole process of discernment was guided by the Holy Spirit.

The bible is accurate in that Jesus was a historical person and the gospels and Acts of the Apostles recount things that really happened and that Jesus really said. The gospel writers had different points of view and some of their emphasis depended on their personalities and on who they were writing for. Luke may have interviewed Mary since he included events which closely concerned her. John was probably the closest to Jesus and obviously reflected deeply on what being ‘the son of God’ meant and the beginning of his gospel shows his insights.

I’m sure other posters can give you a lot more info.


#8

He is mentioned in Josephus’ “The Jewish War” as well as in Scripture, which itself is history.

That makes him better-attested than billions upon billions of his fellow human beings, and better-attested than my own ancestors, whom I do not doubt existed, my being here among the living.

Ask the atheist to prove that their own great-great-great-great grandfather existed.


#9

The Jesus “copy-cat” myths all come from sources that were actually written later than the gospels.

I bet your atheist friend didn’t know that.


#10

I’m going to answer one of your questions first before the others:

Simple answer: Yes. Aside from Josephus, there are other sources:

“But not all the relief that could come from man, not all the bounties that the prince could bestow, nor all the atonements which could be presented to the gods, availed to relieve Nero from the infamy of being believed to have ordered the conflagration, the fire of Rome. Hence to suppress the rumor, he falsely charged with the guilt, and punished Christians, who were hated for their enormities. Christus, the founder of the name, was put to death by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea in the reign of Tiberius: but the pernicious superstition, repressed for a time broke out again, not only through Judea, where the mischief originated, but through the city of Rome also, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their center and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind.”

Tacitus (56 AD-ca. 117 AD), Annals 15.44

“During his reign many abuses were severely punished and put down, and no fewer new laws were made. A limit was set to expenditures; the public banquets were confined to a distribution of food; the sale of any kind of cooked viands in the taverns was forbidden, with the exception of pulse and vegetables, whereas before every sort of dainty was exposed for sale. Punishment was inflicted on the Christians, a class of men given to a new and mischievous superstition. He put an end to the diversions of the chariot drivers, who from immunity of long standing claimed the right of ranging at large and amusing themselves by cheating and robbing the people. The pantomimic actors and their partisans were banished from the city…”

Suetonius (69/75-after 130), Nero 16.2

Since the Jews constantly made disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he expelled them from Rome. He allowed the envoys of the Germans to sit in the orchestra, led by their naive self-confidence; for when they had been taken to the seats occupied by the common people and saw the Parthian and Armenian envoys sitting with the senate, they moved of their own accord to the same part of the theater, protesting that their merits and rank were no whit inferior."

Suetonius, Claudius 25.4


#11

Note: I am going to answer your questions based on the historical evidence as I understand it. I accept by faith more than I think can be proven historically. Obviously my faith influences my reading of the evidence–but that is true for an atheist’s unbelief as well!

I think this is an absurd claim. There is simply no evidence for this. It’s a wild conspiracy theory with nothing to commend it except the fact that it favors some people’s view of the universe. I don’t know of a single serious NT scholar who has suggested anything remotely like this, although of course there may be one out there I haven’t heard of. (I know that Thomas Thompson has recently suggested that Jesus was unhistorical, but I have not heard that he’s gone in for this conspiracy-theory nonsense!)

Is there proof for an actual Jesus outside of the New Testament?

Not proof exactly. Of course proof means something different when it comes to history than when it comes to, say, mathematics. Nothing in history can be so proven that it would be self-contradictory to deny it. But for many events we have so many different pieces of independent evidence, and so much in later history that flows from the events in question, that it would be totally absurd in practical terms to deny their historicity. I would say that the historicity of Jesus is just short of this. It isn’t quite indisputable because we don’t have any undisputed and independent testimony to Jesus outside the New Testament (the one piece of independent testimony we have is from Josephus–unfortunately, almost all scholars, including conservative Christians such as F. F. Bruce, agree that the text as it stands must have been altered by Christians). However, given the diversity, detail, and relatively early dating of the NT documents, and the existence of a number of external sources that accept the historicity and crucifixion of Jesus as a matter of fact, there are very few scholars who would question that Jesus lived or that he was crucified under Pontius Pilate.

One of the best summaries of what can be known about Jesus historically is by E.P. Sanders, *The Historical Figure of Jesus. *(Sanders is a liberal Protestant.) Two other sources one could use to compare with Sanders are the Catholic John Meier’s A Marginal Jew and the Jewish scholar Paula Fredriksen’s Jesus of Nazareth. I like N. T. Wright’s work, but it is very controversial and can’t be taken as a statement of the scholarly consensus (whereas if you look at the places where Sanders, Meier, and Frederiksen agree you’d have a pretty good idea of that consensus).


#12

Can the New Testament be considered an accurate historial document written in the time it presents itself?

The NT is not a document. It is 27 different documents written at different times and places by different people. Opinions of the historicity of the specific books vary widely. Both the view that the NT is largely fictional and the view that it is completely or largely accurate are minority positions among scholars–the latter is held by a much larger minority, although to be fair that *could *be explained by the fact that orthodox Christians are required by faith to believe in the NT’s accuracy, while no one is required by their faith to believe it to be wholly fictional (of course, for some people it would be very convenient to believe this!).

I would say that there are good reasons to believe that Luke and Acts are basically (though not necessarily completely) accurate. And I believe that Mark is very close to an eye-witness account. I’m less sure about Matthew being a historical document in any sense (speaking of things peculiar to Matthew–obviously much of the content is derived from other sources), and while I think there are good arguments for John containing historical material, it does seem to have been written much later than the other Gospels and it differs from them quite drastically in certain places.

For the Epistles the question is whether they were written by the people whose names they bear. There are seven letters of Paul that are almost universally accepted as his: Romans, 1-2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, and Philemon. (Although many people think that 2 Corinthians may have been put together from several different letters.) The authenticity of 2 Thessalonians, Ephesians, and Colossians is widely challenged, and the authenticity of the “Pastoral Epistles” is generally denied (though there are scholars who defend it, of course). I know less about the “General Epistles,” and obviously the claims of authorship are often less clear. James and Jude seem to be often accepted as having been written fairly early by people who may have been disciples of Jesus. 1-2 Peter are only regarded as authentic letters of Peter by conservative Christian scholars.

As for the time written–most of the NT was certainly written in the first century. The Gospel of John, 2 Peter, and the Pastoral Epistles are sometimes put in the early 2nd century by more liberal scholars. Some conservative scholars have argued that the whole NT was written before A.D. 70. With regard to the Gospels in particular, Mark was definitely written before A.D. 70. Matthew and Luke are less certain–I would argue that Luke and Acts were very likely written before A.D. 70, but that’s a pretty conservative view. More often Matthew and Luke are put fairly late in the first century, with John around the turn of the 2nd century.

Were people such as Pilate, Caiphas, John the Baptist, Simon Peter, Paul of Tarsus, and John of Patmos real or were they just made up?

Pilate is definitely known to be historical from multiple sources. Caiaphas is primarily known from the NT and Josephus, but I think there’s some archaeological corroboration and no one questions his historicity. John the Baptist is mentioned in Josephus, and again I don’t think anyone has questioned the authenticity of that passage. Peter and Paul are, I think, only known from Christian sources, but I have not heard that anyone questions their existence (certainly not Paul’s). John of Patmos is a different case–by definition “John of Patmos” is simply the person who wrote Revelation. The identity of that person with the Apostle John is widely questioned, to say the least (and of course the NT itself doesn’t make that claim). Whether the author was really in Patmos can’t be proven or disproven historically.

How do we know that the Bible compiled at Nicea is accurate?

It wasn’t compiled at Nicaea. That is a myth of Dan Brown. There are a lot of lists of canonical books from the second century on. They differ in some points: 2 Peter, James, and Revelation are among the books that aren’t always included, while 1 Clement and the Shepherd of Hermas are sometimes included. However, most of the so-called “lost Gospels” are never mentioned by “Catholic” Christians (i.e., the Christians of the tradition from which we all derive today) as being even possibly canonical. The idea that there was a huge canon winnowed at Nicaea was simply false. The canon seems to have been settled by the end of the fourth century–there were several local councils, two in North Africa and one in Rome (though the history of that Council’s “Acts” is complicated and controversial), that dealt with the matter.


#13

There were a LOT of exra texts (Gospel of Peter, Jubilles, ect.) that were thrown out. Why?

Jubilees is a Jewish text and thus in a somewhat different category. No one claims that the Gospel of Peter and most of the other “NT apocrypha” are authentic or historical. The one possible exception is the Gospel of Thomas, which some scholars think may be earlier than the Gospel of John and may contain some independent information about Jesus’ teaching. But by and large secular scholars question the authenticity of much of the canonical NT, not the inauthenticity of the NT Apocrypha!

Why is the Gospel of John so diffirent from the other three Gospels? (ie the Document Q argument)

This isn’t directly related to Q, except in the sense that the Q hypothesis attempts to explain commonalities between Matthew and Luke that can’t be explained by their common derivation from Mark. In other words, the Q hypothesis is part of the attempt to explain why the other three Gospels are similar. However, the fact that John is different would be a problem even if the Q hypothesis were rejected (if, for instance, the majority of scholars came round to the view that Matthew was written first, which has become more popular recently but is still decidedly a minority position).

Most scholars do not think that any of the Gospels are completely accurate as they stand. So John isn’t as much of a “problem” for them as it is for those of us who take a more conservative view. Secular and liberal scholars simply hold that all the Gospels contain some historical material and some that is not historical. John is held to be the product of a distinct early Christian “community,” which had somewhat different traditions.

If, however, we believe that the Synoptic account is basically historical, then John becomes a more distinctive “problem.” The specific differences have been explained in various ways (it is possible, for instance, that there really were two “cleansings of the Temple,” though it seems a bit improbable). More generally, the traditional view is that John wrote some years after the others and deliberately filled in “blanks” left by the Synoptic accounts. Another theory is that John is based in large measure on visions and revelations experienced by early Christians at the end of the first century, which they believed to come from Jesus and thus to be genuine information about Jesus’ life.

These are good questions–thanks for asking them! There is a lot of good NT scholarship out there. As a guide through the morass, I would recommend the book *The Face of New Testament Studies, *edited by Scot McKnight and Grant Osborne. F. F. Bruce’s The New Testament Documents is an excellent summary of the evidence for the reliability of the texts. A good survey of studies of the historical Jesus in particular is Ben Witherington, *The Jesus Quest. *All of these are evangelical Protestant sources.

One specific, and very detailed study of the question by a Catholic scholar is the afore-mentioned Marginal Jew by John Meier. Luke Timothy Johnson’s The Writings of the New Testament takes a fairly conservative approach to questions of authorship (though Johnson is a liberal by Catholic standards on other issues). The New Jerome Commentary is a good summary of modern Catholic scholarship, and the Anchor series is a multi-volume commentary on the Bible by some of the foremost late-20th-century Catholic NT scholars. Much of this material would be considered “liberal” by folks on this board, but it’s generally on the conservative side of the scholarly mainstream today.

Edwin


#14

These people need to review their sources if they get these ‘facts’ from outdated and/or flawed works such as the World’s Sixteen Crucified Saviors (written in 1875 by Kersey Graves).

Were people such as Pilate, Caiphas, John the Baptist, Simon Peter, Paul of Tarsus, and John of Patmos real or were they just made up?

We have Caiaphas’ ossuary; plus, he also got mentioned by Flavius Josephus.

We have an inscription mentioning Pontius Pilate, Prefect of Judea, as well as some coins during his period of prefectship (He was Prefect for 26-36 AD), as well as a mention by Josephus (again) and Philo of Alexandria.

John the Baptizer also was mentioned by Josephus.

So even if you believe the Gospels are mostly fictionalized, there is no denying that multiple facts support the existence of a man named Y’shua ha-Notsri, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate.

How do we know that the Bible compiled at Nicea is accurate? There were a LOT of exra texts (Gospel of Peter, Jubilles, ect.) that were thrown out. Why?

The Bible was NOT compiled at Nicea; what went in and out of the text was not officially decided until a bit later.

However, the Church had always condemned these ‘extra texts’ due to the fact that most of them were either just pious fiction, composed to fill in the gaps in the canonical Gospels or were writings used by Gnostic sects.

In order to see the difference between a Apocryphal and a Canonical Gospel, I’d advise you to read an Apocryphal Gospel and then a Canonical one and check the differences between the two.

Why is the Gospel of John so diffirent from the other three Gospels? (ie the Document Q argument)

Thank You for Posting

I don’t particularly believe in the Q Hypothesis, and in Markan priority for that matter.

I more or less believe the following scenario: Matthew (at first) wrote a Gospel in Hebrew. Then by the time when Luke wrote his Gospel, he decided to write a ‘translation’ or a more improved version of his Gospel in Greek. Luke and Matthew then made use of the work of the other in making their Gospels (In which case, the “many” who “have undertaken to compile a narrative of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as those who were eyewitnesses from the beginning and ministers of the word have handed them down to us” referred to by Luke in his Gospel could easily include the author of Matthew/the ‘Matthean tradition’).

Then Mark came and wrote the Gospel of Mark, using both (Greek) Matthew’s and Luke’s Gospel as some of his sources.

By the time John wrote his Gospel, he was writing in an independent vein; he did not choose to use one of the three as his source, but used an independent tradition of his (most likely from memory).


#15

Let’s look at other mythical figures … Paul Bunyan, the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus … those are mythical figures and show me how anyone believes these people actually existed in the way they are described. No one does … I believe mythical figures are easily figured out by rational adults. If any adult really truly believes these figures you would look at them with a little bit of pity.

Look at the claims of the Christianity … it is really outrageous if you think about it. A baby was born to a peasant girl in some obscure, nothing hamlet. This baby grows into a man and then this man claims he is God himself. The people kill this man hoping to end this madness but He rises from the dead and the rest is history. Why does this story not go the same route as Santa or the Tooth fairy? It should have been easy for any rational adult to dismiss this … but that does not happen. The Romans try to stamp it out by mass murdering anyone who believes it but they do nothing but help its spread.

It’s the athesists who cannot explain it … let’s look at the dumb commoners who believe this? I dont consider myself a dumb commoner and I dont believe in the tooth fairy or Santa (but I once did) but I believe this … that Jesus Christ was God, was cruciefied died and was buried … and He rose from the dead. Really if Christianity was false it wouldnt have made it past the early Church Fathers.

If I look back in all honesty I believed in the Tooth Fairy and Santa as a child and did not understand Jesus but as I grew older the opposite happens … the Tooth Fairy becomes myth and Jesus becomes real.

Go figure.


#16

PatThePoet—

Many know through their history class about Caesar,Cleopatra
Octavian,Mark Antony, Brutus,and Cassius.The times were around 50’s,40’s,and 30’s.B.C. = Before Christ.

They came before Jesus yet we believe the stories to be true only because our schools taught us that they were. And yes they were.

The schools were and are not allowed to teach our children about Jesus and that is why many might ask the questions you asked.

Look at some of the main people mentioned in the Bible in history…

**Matthew 22:21 **

21They said to Him, “Caesar’s.” Then He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.”

The governor was Pilate, and he was the man responsible for the collecting of Rome’s taxes in Judea.

The first physical evidence relating to Pilate was discovered in 1961, when a block of black limestone was found in the Roman theatre at Caesarea Maritima, the capital of the province of Iudaea, bearing a damaged dedication by Pilate of a Tiberieum.[9] This dedication states that he was …]ECTVS IUDA…] (usually read as praefectus iudaeae), that is, prefect/governor of Iudaea. The early governors of Iudaea were of prefect rank, the later were of procurator rank, beginning with Cuspius Fadus in 44.

The inscription is currently housed in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, where its Inventory number is AE 1963 no. 104. Dated to 26–37, it was discovered in Caesarea (Israel) by a group led by Antonio Frova.

Herod was the name used by several kings belonging to the Herodian Dynasty of Roman Iudaea Province:

Herod the Great (c. 74-4 BC), king of Judea who reconstructed the Second Temple in Jerusalem and was described in the Gospel of Matthew as ordering the “Massacre of the Innocents”

Herod Archelaus (23 BC-c. AD 18), ethnarch of Samaria, Judea, and Idumea

Herod Antipas (20 BC-c. AD 40), tetrarch of Galilee and Peraea, who was described in the New Testament as ordering John the Baptist’s death and as mocking Jesus

Herod Agrippa I (c. 10 BC-AD 44), king of Judea, called “Herod” in the Acts of the Apostles

Herod Philip I, father of Salome

Herod Philip II (4 BC-AD 34), tetrarch of Ituraea and Trachonitis
Herod of Chalcis, also known as Herod III, king of Chalcis (AD 41-48)

Herod Agrippa II (AD 27-100), tetrarch of Chalcis who was described in Acts of the Apostles as “King Agrippa” before whom Paul of Tarsus defended himself

The Many Tombs of Religious Figures in Italy
lifeinitaly.com/religion/apostles-tombs.asp

The apostles knew and passed on the teachings to some of the Early Church Fathers.

newadvent.org/fathers/

St. Irenæus (III, iii) tells us that Clement “saw the blessed Apostles and conversed with them, and had yet ringing in his ears the preaching of the Apostles and had their tradition before his eyes, and not he only for many were then surviving who had been taught y the Apostles”.

St. Jerome himself in several other places follows this opinion, but here he correctly states that Clement was the fourth pope.

We have St. Clement’s writtings…
Letter to the Corinthians
newadvent.org/fathers/1010.htm

Tradition and writtings have claimed that Pope Linus is the Linus mentioned by St. Paul in his II Timothy 4:21. The passage by Irenaeus (Adv. haereses, III, iii, 3) reads:

After the Holy Apostles (Peter and Paul) had founded and set the Church in order (in Rome) they gave over the exercise of the episcopal office to Linus. The same Linus is mentioned by St. Paul in his Epistle to Timothy. His successor was Anacletus.

List of Popes
newadvent.org/cathen/12272b.htm

Think of it like a long game of tag.One bishop lays hands on the next. It’s been happening since Jesus first layed hands on Peter all the way to our current head bishop we call pope (Means “poppa”)


#17

First of all, please excuse me for my bad english. :blush:

I have heard that St Paul (the apostle) was a gnostic and that he uses many words which the gnostics used in their writings, archon and aeon. That would mean that Paul was talking about the evil rulers and creators of the world in 1 Corinthians 2:8.
And if you are reading his letters from a gnostic view then Jesus is only a myth, a myth created by Paul.


#18

The Perverted Paul (Paul a Gnostic?)

And:

1 Corinthians 2: 6: …Yet we do speak a wisdom to those who are mature, but not a wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age who are passing away.

6: Sophian de laloumen en tois teleois, sophian de ou tou aiōnos toutou oude tōn archontōn tōn aiōnos toutou tōn katargoumenōn.

7: Rather, we speak God’s wisdom, mysterious, hidden, which God predetermined before the ages for our glory,

7: Alla laloumen Theon sophian en mystēriō, tin apokekrymmenin, ēn proōrisen o Theos pro tōn aiōnōn eis doxan imon.

8: Which none of the rulers of this age knew; for if they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

8: Ēn oudeis tōn archontōn tou aiōnos toutou egnōken, ei gar egnōsan, ouk an ton Kyrion tis doxis estaurōsan.

ARCHON: a Greek word that means “ruler”, frequently used as the title of a specific public office. It is the masculine present participle of the verb stem ‘arch-’, meaning “to rule”, derived from the same root as monarch and hierarchy.

In late antiquity some variants of Gnosticism used the term to refer to several servants of the Demiurge, the “creator god”, that stood between the human race and a transcendent God that could only be reached through gnosis. In this context they have the role of the angels and demons of the Old Testament.

The Egyptian Gnostic Basilideans accepted the existence of an archon called Abraxas who was the prince of 365 spiritual beings (Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses, I.24).
The Orphics accepted the existence of seven archons: Iadabaoth or Ialdabaoth (who created the six others), Iao, Sabaoth, Adonaios, Elaios, Astaphanos and Horaios (Origen, Contra Celsum, VI.31).
The Pistis Sophia gives another set: Paraplex, Hekate, Ariouth (females), Typhon, and Iachtanabas (males).

AEON: also spelled eon or æon, means “age”, “forever” or “for eternity”. It is a Latin transliteration from the koine Greek word “aion”, from the archaic “aiwon”: in Homer it typically refers to life or lifespan, but by at least Hesiod it could refer to ages or generations.
It has a similar meaning to the Sanskrit word kalpa and Hebrew olam.
A cognate Latin word aevum or aeuum (cf. αἰϝών) for “age” is present in words such as longevity and mediæval.

In many Gnostic systems, the various emanations of God, who is also known by such names as the One, the Monad, Aion Teleos (The Perfect Aeon), Bythos (Depth or profundity), Proarkhe (Before the Beginning), Ē Arkhe (The Beginning), are called aeons.

This first being is also an aeon and has an inner being within itself, known as Ennoea (Thought), Charis (Grace), or Sige (Silence). The split perfect being conceives the second aeon, Caen (Power), within itself. Along with the male Caen comes the female æon Akhana (Truth, Love). Aeons bear a number of similarities to Judaeo-Christian angels, including their roles as servants and emanations of God, and their existence as beings of light. In fact, certain Gnostic Angels, such as Armozel, also happen to be Aeons.

The aeons often came in male/female pairs called syzygies, and were frequently numerous (20-30). Two of the most commonly listed aeons were Jesus and Sophia. The aeons constitute the pleroma, the “region of light.” The lowest regions of the pleroma are closest to the darkness — that is, the physical world.

Just because Paul uses the words ‘Archon’ and ‘Aeon’ does not make him a Gnostic, just as someone who uses the word ‘black’ in its regular meaning (that is the color) does not automatically make him a racist.


#19

Most if not all the Atheists that say Jesus was fictional are just trying to “stir the pot” if you will. These guys fabricate conspiracy theories b/c they simply cannot accept the fact that the things that took place in the NT were seen by EYEWITNESSES.

I don’t think anyone in their right mind would start their own religion about a fictional man and die for a lie!

Read the New Testament, and see how passionate the apostles were about Jesus. When the rest of the world was killing itself, and saying “help yourself”, Christians were helping others and loving them as well. They even died for the faith, b/c they did the right thing by loving thier neighbors, when the world was dominated by “big dog” mentality.

You can see the effects of the Holy Spirit today, by looking at the # of converts to Christ. I don’t think a lie would survive for 2,000 years, unless it was true.:thumbsup:


#20

Good points. But the devil is clever. It takes more than witnesses. It takes credible witnesses. The early Christian witnesses were highly credible since they were willing to die for nothing but their belief and did not even try to defend themselves. Compare and contrast that with the 11 or so witnesses of Joseph Smith’s Mormon religion. They had witnesses too - but where they credible? Did any really die for their faith? Did any of the Christian witnesses have families, businesses and wealth to protect and gain by dieing for their faith?

James


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.