Paul of Tarsus v Peter

Remove the individual stories and look at the big picture. Here is this dude who is homeless, but has a large entourage of rather rough characters. He never stays in the same place for long … hmm, every wonder why? And a few women in that entourage?

Pimp? Crime boss? Con artist?

Narcissistic and delusional sect leader?

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Definitely cannot be ruled out.

Imagine if a dude with this nature of entourage suddenly shows up in your town. All appear to be itinerants, no apparent source of income, no one knows their history? What conclusion would you arrive at?

That it was the Son of God spreading the Gospel with the good help of his entourage? :thinking:

Unfortunately that bible tale doesn’t hold up. Jesus was very upper middle class, carpenters in 1st Century Judea were very much a prosperous lot. All except olive woods had to be imported for everything. So Joseph was (if he existed) the owner of a prosperous and well thought of business and he was financially capable of educating to a very high standard Jesus, James, the other brother and any unnamed daughters.

Luke was a physician, educated and like doctors today well heeled.
Andrew, James, John and Peter, aka Cephas, were licensed fishermen (sons of Zebedee we are told). Like cray fishermen today they had to be worth the 1st century equivalent of over a million dollars in todays money in assets alone. It is likely it was the entire crew…and they would have been on wages.

Matthew aka Levi was a tax collector which in 1st Century Judea was a very lucrative, well connected, franchise from the Romans.
Simeon was a professional activist/politician and probably was adept at raising funds form the local zealots…
Judas is described as the “treasurer” and, we may know from the Gospel of Thomas that he was a neighbor and of similar standing socio economically to the Jesus figure…and was probably an accountant before joining, again, well washed, well heeled, well educated. Well chosen and trusted by those well supplied, well clothed boys and their female and male (yep that’s in the bible too) “groupies”

I always think of them as the equivalent of a band of Mormon Elders or JW Witnesses landing in small towns. Wearing suits, calling people sir or ma’am. Asking if anyone has heard the “news”

Judea was also a very familial community with extended families the basis of society, effectively when you arrived in a town you would “name your kin” as happens in every similar society ( I lived in one) . All the disciples would have been known, or close family members known, to someone wherever they travelled.

Christians really dislike the reality of Jesus and 12 middle class dudes having a hippy moment and Jesus’s wife/lover travel around, but, hey guys it is IN THE BIBLE, all the clues are there. .

Jesus may well have been an Italian.

IE: 30 years old, not married , no girlfriend, lives with his parents, mother thinks he’s god.

Now that I think of it, how did Jesus manage to stay single for so long? At a time and place where people entered arranged marriages in adolescence. At 40 you were pretty much stuffed. That’s the men. Women were far less likely to reach 40, having died in childbirth after multiple births before they were 20.

As I’ve said before It’s all myth. They made it all up. Pretty sure some of the Gospel writers were not Jewish. That because of the abysmal ignorance of Jewish law and custom as well as ignorance of Roman/Jewish relations.

The whole interlude with Pilate is risible. Pretty sure not a fuck was given about Jewish sensibilities. Most unlikely he would have done them the favour of having Jesus’ body so soon after he died. IE it was usual to leave the crucified on the cross until they rotted and/or were eaten by scavengers. Can’t think of a reason for Pilate to have his soldiers guarding Jesus’ tomb. Temple guards would have been fine. It think Pilate is one of many obvious literary devices, to add a bit of drama to the mythology. Or not. Who knows?

He didnt he was married to Mary Magdalene. Similarly well brought up and of the same social background.

Yep both Mark and Luke were corrected by Matthew on Lore, Law and Jewish custom.

Absolutely. Utter bollocks…

Nope. Temple guards would not have done it. They had important duties at…oh the Temple?

Absolutely. Pilates record up until his first appointment to the Judean prefecture was one of absolute adherence to Roman custom and law. Why would he give a fuck about this privileged seditioners/rabble?

That makes sense except for the part where the New Testament is most likely pure myth, as is Jesus, probably.

Huh? Jesus is said to have been a worker in wood. (carpentry did not exist then) Hardly a lofty status, “Artisan”?

Often wondered what Mary Magdalene did for a crust. I thought she had family money. From which publication or other source did you glean that startling claim?

No children?

OT: Did Jesus have siblings? Catholics say absolutely not, Miriam remained a virgin***. However protestant sects tend to claim yes. (Mark 6:3 and Matthew 13:55-56)

***One of her titles is 'the immaculate conception." (born free from original sin) Mary is also claimed by Catholics to have been admitted to heaven bodily. That miracle is called The Assumption.

I agree.

wood was a very very scarce and costly commodity in Galilee ( in fact most of the Levant) “Workers in wood” were by necessity importers and stockholders of costly imported timber. Far too costly to be just allowed for any but the most expert and trustworthy ( family or/and very highly paid) workers to handle.

If she was the wife of Yeshua then she would have been of equal social staus, apparently ( according to the gospels) Joseph was an established businessman, Jesus was very well educated , his marriage would have HAD to have been of equal status.

As I wrote earlier, he was rumored to have fathered at least two sons on MM. She was pregnant leaving the levant. Who really knows? Apart from the Scottish Masonry and the Priory of Sion?

In the bible it is claimed that James is a brother to Jesus, he certainly was (if the same bloke) the priest later in charge of the Upper Temple in Jerusalem (see Josephus entry 2 and ACTS) , the same guy who charged Paul/Saul with apostasy.
It is hardly likely a fecund woman would stop at one bastard son, but James is described as the “Elder Brother” go figure…

Yair, yet the Catholics stubbornly insist Miriam was a virgin before and after having Jesus (painlessly) and had no more children. They’re trapped. They can’t admit otherwise because that would put them in conflict with the powerful Marian cult. Could even lead to a schism.

Thanks for the info about wood workers at that time, wasn’t aware. I always assumed Jesus received his education by osmosis, or magic, what with being god and all :innocent:

Trivia; Catholics teach Jesus is both god and man. Yet if god , he is perfect by definition and incapable of sin, so cannot also be man. If man, he is by definition imperfect and capable of sin, so cannot also be god. The only response to that claim I can remember from school was; “Yes, well, that’s a mystery of faith. We just believe” I kid you not. What use is rational thinking when you have that get out of gaol free card?

"Peter, on the other hand, who actually knew Jesus

Yeah, I don’t think so. There is no reliable evidence that the apostle Peter even existed. The Peter whom Paul mentions in 1 Corinthians was not the apostle Peter, and had not paled around with Jesus.

Bear in mind too, that nothing of what Paul says about Jesus references a guy named Jesus who thirty years earlier was walking around on the earth. Paul himself said that the gospel he preached came from divine revelation and scripture (the Hebrew Bible). “For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

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Welcome @Pupienus - look forward to reading your comments :smiley:

@Pupienus Welcome to Atheist Republic.

Welcome to AR from South Australia

Seems there is a lot of confusion about New Testament. One can’t help but wonder where we’d be without biblical hermeneutics and exegesis :innocent: .EG the Catholic church uses such to explain how Jesus had no siblings and his mother Miriam was virgin at his conception and forever more.

My own position is that the New Testament is the mythology of Christianity. This makes perfect sense to me. The historicity of Jesus has never been determined . I think it’s possible, even likely that Jesus is a mythical figure who was never a real person***


*** have only recently discovered Richard Carrier, so have not yet changed my position. IE That at best, Jesus may have been an historical figure . But he has nothing to do with the Jesus of the new testament. Nor the religion invented in his name. .

Welcome Pupienus

Thank you for your comments, which I agree with.
Mine are not what I believe but rather what NT pupports as gospel truth and believed by millions.

Hey there Boomer47,welcome to the fringe! The “fringe” being what all the historical Jesus scholars call us incredibly stupid and ignorant loonies who believe Jesus was probably mythical, the product of Christianity not the cause of it.

You might be interested in Robert M. Price’s Deconstructing Jesus, available at
It’s very dense but if you skim through it you’ll see that mythicism is not at all fringe, or at least shouldn’t be seen as such. You’ll learn a lot about the philosophical, social, and religious contexts in which the myths arose.

From the introduction:

[…] Because in the same way that a Jesus who could take so many forms so readily had no real form to begin with, we may say that a “historical Jesus” capable of being portrayed with nearly equal plausibility as a magician, a revolutionary, a Cynic sage, an apocalyptic prophet, and so on, has no true and certain form at all! The various scholarly reconstructions of Jesus cancel each other out. Each sounds good until you hear the next one. The inevitable conclusion is that even if there was a historical Jesus who actually walked the earth two thousand years ago, there is no historical Jesus any morel The original is irrecoverable, unless someone invents a time machine and goes back to
meet Jesus as in Michael Moorcock’s novel Behold the Man.

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Thanks I think.

I’m not really a joiner. Besides, I haven’t yet given up completely on an historic position.

For about 20 years it has seemed clear to me that existence of an historical Jesus is irrelevant to the range of beliefs which use his name.

The church has never made belief if in the shroud of Turin dogma. Consequently it has been able to ignore findings which have shown it is almost certainly a medieval forgery. Also, as far as I know, that type of burial shroud was not used at that time.

Th gospel of Thomas, part of the Nag Hammadi finds in 1945 has some sayings of Jesus already know however, much was not previously known. So naturally, the official position of the catholic church is that The Gospel of Thomas is apocryphal.

The church arrogantly dismisses anything which conflicts with dogma, from new archaeology to ancient writings.

Seems to me , Jesus tends to be a bit of an inconvenience.

As time passes. I lean closer to a mythicist position. Of course I will never be in a position of certitude, having to accept “almost certainly/ most probably”. Lots of fun though, makes me think, which I always welcome.

Thanks for the link, I’ll check it out.

PS pleased that you cite Michael Moorcock, read a lot of his stuff, about 30 years ago.

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You’re not missing anything.

Peter wasn’t able to convince Jews that Jesus was the messiah because a guy getting crucified is the opposite of what Jews believed a messiah would be (free them from Roman rule).

Paul - a con man - created a sellable idea to non-Jews disappointed in the Roman state religion.

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Somewhat of an understatement: The Mashiach was not/is not most definitely not divine. He is to be a warrior king in the Davidic tradition. He will not die young. He will bring an era of peace to all mankind not just the Jews.

I’ve always found Christian claims that Jesus was the Messiah to be tortuous, and indicating an ignorance of Jewish prophecy and tradition. I think this is reasonable evidence that the Gospels were not written by Jews. There’s some more stuff in the gospels.

It is obvious that “Mark” the anonymous 1st of the synoptic gospels was at least either a greek or a hellenised jew. The original version seems (by all accounts) to have finished before the resurrection story was added.
“Matthew” corrected many of the egregious errors in Mark (despite copying verbatim some 600 verses) about Jewish law and lore, in his gospel, we know the earliest of which likely did NOT contain a birth narrative, or, a physical resurrection story.

“Luke” similarly did not have a birth narrative, was written by a greek speaker and scholar, copied over 60% verbatim from Mark, and contained references to the adoptionist creed until edited to conform (in the 3rd century) to the divine, magical, supernatural jesus stories.

There is even less actual contemporary evidence for the
Peter/ Simon Peter/Cephas/Simon/Simeon character described in the bible than there is for the divine jesus figure.

No wonder he couldn’t convince anyone, the likelihood is that he/they didn’t exist.