The Voynich Manuscript

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The Voynich Manuscript has remained a mystery for centuries. First off, it’s written in an unknown script by an unknown author. It might be a hitherto unknown language, a cipher, or just plain nonsense. It features images of unknown plants, possible star charts featuring zodiac-like imagery, and pictures of naked women bathing in pools connected by tubes which may be balneological (relating to healing baths). Several pages are missing from it. Continue reading

The Private Letters of Countess Erzsébet Báthory by Kimberly L. Craft

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Erzsébet (Elizabeth) Báthory was a medieval Hungarian countess, best known for bathing in blood to keep herself young. While it’s a myth that she bathed in blood, there was a trial in which she was said to have tortured and killed several servant girls. The trial itself, however, was rather irregular, so whether Elizabeth Bathory was indeed guilty or not is still an open question. Continue reading

Stories from Ancient Canaan

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“Thus saith the Lord God unto Jerusalem; Thy birth and thy nativity is of the land of Canaan” -Ezekiel 16:3

The city of Ugarit was destroyed around 1200 BC and rediscovered in 1928. It was a Canaanite city-state like Jerusalem. Until the Ugaritic texts were discovered, all we knew about the Canaanites was what was said of them in the Bible. The texts that survive are fragmentary, but at least give us a small window into what the Canaanites believed. The Ugaritic texts have similarities to both the Gilgamesh epic and passages in the Bible. Continue reading

On the Historicity of Jesus by Richard Carrier Part 12 of 12

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This will be the final post in my multi-part summary of Richard Carrier’s On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt. After going over our background information, evidence outside the Bible, Acts, the Gospels, and most of the Epistles (which are all more likely if Jesus didn’t exist than if he did), we finally get to the best evidence there is for historicity (the theory that Jesus existed as a historical person instead of a celestial deity). Continue reading

On the Historicity of Jesus by Richard Carrier Part 11 of 12

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Chapter 11: The Epistles

In his authentic epistles, Paul only answers questions about doctrine and rules of conduct. If Jesus existed, it’s very bizarre that no one would ask him about the life and death of Jesus. Also, it would have made sense to mention things Jesus said in life to help answer some of the doctrine questions, but Paul never does this. Continue reading

On the Historicity of Jesus by Richard Carrier Part 8 of 12

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Mark

Pilate freeing Barabbas (a name which literally means “Son of the Father”) has no basis in history (the Romans never freed prisoners like this). Rather, it is patterned on the scapegoat ritual of Yom Kippur (Mark also has this take place during Passover so it’s a combination of two different Jewish holidays). Some manuscripts of Mark actually give his name as Jesus Barabbas, so the crowd is deciding between two Sons of the Father, making it even more clear that this is an allegorical, not a historical, story. Continue reading

On the Historicity of Jesus by Richard Carrier Part 6 of 12

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Chapter 8

The original Christians were called the Nazorians. They kept the Torah and, per Epiphanius, they believed Jesus died in the time of Alexander Jannaeus (103-76 BC). The Babylonian Talmud knows of no other form of Christianity. Other Christians believed Jesus died in the 40s AD rather than the 30s AD. If Jesus existed, how could different Christians believe he lived in different centuries? This bit of evidence is more likely for mythicism than historicism. Continue reading