-"You appear to think the NT is 'very much later' than the events it describes."
I was talking about the Gospels, as you should already be aware, and they *do* appear much later. These are not contemporary stories but instead are written down some 30-70 years after the events they purport to depict.
-"Yet the gap is much shorter than you think..."
I doubt you have any evidence to that effect.
-"...and Paul, for example, describes meeting James, the brother of Jesus, whose execution is described independently by Josephus."
Isn't it funny how the Gospels never mention his family beyond the two contradictory birth narratives? That would be evidence in favour of these being exaggerated legends.
-"As in post above to Drew I have described in some detail the techniques scholars can use to work out a substratum of historical facts about Jesus from the NT. No academic historian of any faith or none now doubts that the basics of the story and mission of Jesus can be known to be true..."
What are these basics then? As far as i am aware what we have is a reasonable conclusion that there was an apocalyptic preacher who fomented discontent and was regarded as heretical, in all likelyhood he may have garnered a modest following, much as many charismatic cult leaders do today, and in the end he was executed as a criminal, probably because he was stirring up trouble. This isn't the divine son of a god worshipped by Christians, but much reduced and pathetic figure. It not as if this guy can even be pointed to as a great philosopher.
-"as in the Michael Grant book that he proclaimed the kingdom of God. More work has subsequently been done to establish for example that he had a special ministry to those outside the boundaries of conventional Judaism-- the sinners, prostitutes etc, and this is so counter-cultural to the time that it is unlikely to have been invented by a group of writers apparently independent of each in location and date."
Rubbish, zealots for their religion invent stuff all the bloody time, note how Muhammed is suposed to have performed a variety of miraculous deeds and Joseph Smith likewise. We see examples of this on this site *constantly*, with those who think they have access to The Truth™ giving us all manner of inventions against evolution, radiometric dating, palaeontology, physics and chemistry!
The writers of the Gospels and Paul himself are not objective, neutral commentators but are evangelical zealots convinced of their own truths and their writings reflect that.
-"Professor Graham Stanton (yes, heavens forbid a Christian, so everything he says must be a lie)"
Give it a rest.
-"...presents a very careful and understated view of what can be seen as historically probable (which is all we can say about anything in ancient history) but that means what academic historians accept."
Do you understand how 'historically probable' differs from 'observed facts'?
-"It does include 'miracles' in the sense of apparently paranormal healings, but not the so called nature miracles like the water and wine as discussed with Drew (sorry, I forget if it is on this website)."
We see such attributions of miracle healings around charismatic cult leaders today, what reason do you have for Jesus being an exception to this chicanery?
-"As Stanton points out, Jesus' impact on people is an historical phenomenon."
So what? Joseph Smith had an impact, so did Muhammed, David Koresh made an mpact too. All you are basically saying is that ideas and stories can influence people. It has no bearing on whether those ideas have any form of veracity though.
-"It is you not me that is using the circular argument when you say his 'impact on believers' because they did not start as believers and came to believe very counter-cultural things for Judaism and paganism."
I think that before accusing others of logical fallacies you should read up on what they are and how they are applied as criticism, so far you appear to use these quite incorrectly.
-"(On the Mormons I shall not repeat myself again, but have discussed with Drew above)"
Yeah, badly. Your constant handwaving isn't doing you any favours. You should focus on the fact that the Mormon evidence is of the same kind that you are using to back up your Jesus, but is better in that they are contemporary and don't rely on the anonymous witnesses that are referred to in the NT accounts.
In short; you are being inconsistent.
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