Skeptic Friends Network

Username:
Password:
Save Password
Forgot your Password?
Home | Forums | Active Topics | Active Polls | Register | FAQ | Contact Us  
  Connect: Chat | SFN Messenger | Buddy List | Members
Personalize: Profile | My Page | Forum Bookmarks  
 All Forums
 Our Skeptic Forums
 Religion
 Did Homer Really Exist?
 New Topic  Topic Locked
 Printer Friendly Bookmark this Topic BookMark Topic
Next Page
Author Previous Topic Topic Next Topic
Page: of 2

echthroi_man
Skeptic Friend

104 Posts

Posted - 07/25/2002 :  21:10:13  Show Profile Send echthroi_man a Private Message
This question is for Slater, but all are welcome to comment.

If I understand your criteria correctly, you define a real historical person as someone who actually lived and about whom contemporary historical accounts were written.

My question is: were Homer and Shakespeare real historical figures? Both of them violate your second criterion in that neither one has any kind of contemporary paper trail demonstrating that they actually lived. In fact, there are serious scholars who believe that Shakespeare the poet and playrite is a fictional construct invented to hide the identity of the real author, and there is serious debate over whether Homer was one man, several men, a woman, or even a complete fiction.

Of course, my reply to such an argument is that it is essentually a claim that, because we cannot prove they really exited, we must conclude that they did not, which is a logical fallacy.

The lack of contemporary historical records concerning Jesus is not itself sufficient evidence to conclude that he did not exist. All we can say is that because of a lack of a evidence one way or the other, we cannot say whether he existed or not. Put another way, his existence or non-existence are for now equally probable.

The Irish Headhunter

Oblivion -- When you REALLY want to get away from it all!

Lars_H
SFN Regular

Germany
630 Posts

Posted - 07/25/2002 :  21:59:44   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Lars_H a Private Message
Well I am neither Slater nor an expert on Shakespear or Homer. I do dimly remember a controversy about wether the works attributed to Shakespear were actually written by him. And basically nothing is known about Homer other then the name or the works attributed to him with there being considerable doubt over whether there actually ever having been a single author named Homer, who wrote those works.

In both case we know that someone or a group of someone must have existed, who have written the works they are today known for. Even if we don't who for sure we know someone was there because their works persumably did not just literally appear out of thin air.

This is not a situation comperable with Jesus who left nothing veryfiable behind. A better comparison would be with the authors of the New Testament. We might not be able to say for sure when or by whom it has been written, but we can tell that they did write it.

Another problem with the Jesus comparison is the fact, that the only thing remarkable about Shakespear and Homer was their literally talent. It might have been so exceptional that it is today hard to believe that such a person ever existed, but we have their works to prove that they or whoever wrote them were as good as the tales claim. Other then that nothing out of the ordinary is claimed about them. Nothing about jumping tall buildings in a single leap or drawing swords from stones. We are not asked to take on faith that the laws of nature as men have observed them at any other time did not aply to Shakespear and Homer, wich makes their existance a lot easier to swallow.

Go to Top of Page

@tomic
Administrator

USA
4607 Posts

Posted - 07/25/2002 :  22:53:58   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit @tomic's Homepage Send @tomic a Private Message
I know of no controversy about whether there was a Shakespeare or not. As Lars said the only controversy is if Shakespeare wrote any or all of the works attributed to him.


@tomic

Gravity, not just a good idea...it's the law!
Go to Top of Page

Snake
SFN Addict

USA
2511 Posts

Posted - 07/26/2002 :  00:45:45   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Snake's Homepage  Send Snake an ICQ Message  Send Snake a Yahoo! Message Send Snake a Private Message
quote:

My question is: were Homer and Shakespeare real historical figures

I too can't say anything about Shakespeare, other then I like many of the plays, who ever wrote them. But as to Homer, I CAN say he is very real. I watch him on TV 3 times a night weekdays and on Sunday lately they've been having the show on 4 times.
Thank you very much.
Donuts Rule!!! Whoo Hoo! D'oh.

----------------
*Carabao forever

*SAN FERNANDO VALLEY SECESSION - YES

*All lives are movie settings, it's what channel you're on that counts. Zatikia

*Just because I don't care, doesn't mean I don't understand.
Homer Jaye S.
Go to Top of Page

Starman
SFN Regular

Sweden
1613 Posts

Posted - 07/26/2002 :  05:53:41   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Starman a Private Message
quote:
But as to Homer, I CAN say he is very real. I watch him on TV 3 times a night weekdays and on Sunday lately they've been having the show on 4 times.

I can only watch him once a day!

Stupid TV! Be more funny!

Go to Top of Page

Tokyodreamer
SFN Regular

USA
1447 Posts

Posted - 07/26/2002 :  10:52:09   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Tokyodreamer a Private Message
quote:

The lack of contemporary historical records concerning Jesus is not itself sufficient evidence to conclude that he did not exist.


I would argue that in Jesus' case, this most certainly is sufficient evidence, when the whole picture is analyzed.

quote:
All we can say is that because of a lack of a evidence one way or the other, we cannot say whether he existed or not. Put another way, his existence or non-existence are for now equally probable.


This is greatly oversimplifying the Jesus question. In this specific case, the lack of evidence for an historical Jesus is a huge red flag that is waving over the idea that he never existed.

Homer and Shakespeare are not comparable in this respect.

------------

You can tell she's hydrolic...
Her silver scream is supersonic
You can see the mercury smear in her eye...

Edited by - tokyodreamer on 07/26/2002 10:54:40
Go to Top of Page

Gorgo
SFN Die Hard

USA
5310 Posts

Posted - 07/26/2002 :  16:42:57   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Gorgo a Private Message
I doubt that this Jesus ever existed, but if he did, so what? Are there any Christians that actually exist?

http://atheism.about.com/library/weekly/aa120899a.htm

"Not one human life should be expended in this reckless violence called a war against terrorism." - Howard Zinn

Edited by - gorgo on 07/26/2002 16:43:22
Go to Top of Page

Slater
SFN Regular

USA
1668 Posts

Posted - 07/29/2002 :  10:58:49   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Slater a Private Message
This question is for Slater
Sorry to take so long getting back to you. My wife and I were getting the grand tour from colleagues at Columbia University of their enrichment program for eastern lowland gorillas. They are graciously sharing their brilliant ideas to improve plans for the Maui Ape Project.

If I understand your criteria correctly, you define a real historical person as someone who actually lived and about whom contemporary historical accounts were written.
Close, but no cigar. They must have actually lived and left some evidence behind so that we can know that they actually lived. Because it is the evidence that passes their historicity on to us. Without it we have no way of knowing if they existed.

My question is: were Homer and Shakespeare real historical figures? Both of them violate your second criterion in that neither one has any kind of contemporary paper trail demonstrating that they actually lived. In fact, there are serious scholars who believe that Shakespeare the poet and playrite is a fictional construct invented to hide the identity of the real author
That's just nonsense. The-long abandoned- debate was over if the actor and theatre company manager Will Shakespeare actually wrote the plays, not if he existed. His existence was never in doubt because he, like everyone else, left evidence that he was here. Legal documents, correspondence, correspondence mentioning him, bills, property, portraits, heirs…all the flotsam and jetsam of a human life, it's all there. For him more than for a normal person because he was a celebrity, and people saved things of his.
Odd, don't you think, that people would save souvenirs from a popular theatre personality, but not from a god?

, and there is serious debate over whether Homer was one man, several men, a woman, or even a complete fiction.
It is an exceedingly disingenuous argument used by christians to bring up the lack of evidence of the great minds of classical times. The contention is that, over the many years, in the normal course of things, we lost the supporting evidence we need. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Classical Age was abruptly stopped by Theodosius and all "Pagan" knowledge was systematically destroyed, and scholars put to death, by the Holy Roman Church. Western civilization was destroyed with it and our culture was plunged into a "dark age" for a thousand years.
And now we are to believe this never happened? Or are we to believe that these anti-intellectual christian monsters destroyed all the evidence for Jesus too?

Of course, my reply to such an argument is that it is essentually a claim that, because we cannot prove they really exited, we must conclude that they did not, which is a logical fallacy.
Just a second here, Swifty, there is such a thing as intellectual honesty.
All the claims that are being made for the life of Shakespeare are well documented.
There are no claims being made for the life of Homer that aren't clearly labeled as speculation. His name is simply used as that of the author(s) of the Iliad and the Odyssey. We can be 100% certain that they were authored by someone.

The lack of contemporary historical records concerning Jesus is not itself sufficient evidence to conclude that he did not exist. All we can say is that because of a lack of a evidence one way or the other, we cannot say whether he existed or not. Put another way, his existence or non-existence are for now equally probable.
Now you are getting silly on me.
Have we changed who Jesus was supposed to be? Have we changed what he was supposed to have done? Is he now some anonymous Joe Blow who went completely unnoticed while we have a list of all the other Jewish "messiahs"? Is that who you worship, a nobody?

Anonymity is a universal trait. If Jesus is anonymous to me then you have no way of knowing if he existed either. No matter how you look at it no evidence is no evidence.

From a logical prospective you questioned the existential claims of two writers. We know that writers actually exist. We know that there exists written works that had to be written by someone.
With Jesus you are making claims that he is a god. We have never proved that gods exist so we have nothing to base a belief on.

You aren't just making general existential claims anyway, but are quite detailed and specific about the numerous claims being made--all without proof. Claims that can be put to the test. Like did anyone one notice when from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour; And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many?
There's a very, very, specific claim. One so strange and apparent that it could not have possibly escaped the notice of the authorities (which the same source claims were standing right there, paying close attention). And yet it did. No one recorded it. This can only mean that this outlandish claim is a work of fiction--fiction being something else that we, logically, know exists and is the obvious explanation.


-------
My business is to teach my aspirations to conform themselves to fact, not to try and make facts harmonize with my aspirations. ---Thomas Henry Huxley, 1860

Edited by - slater on 07/29/2002 11:02:45
Go to Top of Page

Snake
SFN Addict

USA
2511 Posts

Posted - 07/29/2002 :  22:52:27   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Snake's Homepage  Send Snake an ICQ Message  Send Snake a Yahoo! Message Send Snake a Private Message
quote:

Odd, don't you think, that people would save souvenirs from a popular theatre personality, but not from a god?


But there were...souvenirs.
The shroud(of Turin), and weren't fragments of thee Cross burried or something in sacred places? What about the chalice, Ok the Crusaders didn't find it. Maybe we can't count that one but then there are all those painting of the 'Last Supper'.

----------------
*Carabao forever

*SAN FERNANDO VALLEY SECESSION - YES

*All lives are movie settings, it's what channel you're on that counts. Zatikia

*Just because I don't care, doesn't mean I don't understand.
Homer Jaye S.
Go to Top of Page

Slater
SFN Regular

USA
1668 Posts

Posted - 07/29/2002 :  23:12:09   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Slater a Private Message
But there were...souvenirs.
Nope, not a single blessed thing.
The shroud(of Turin),
Painted in the middle ages.
and weren't fragments of thee Cross burried or something in sacred places?
No. A piece of construction lumber was presented to the Augusta Helena (then almost 80) in the mid 300's CE during her visit to Jerusalem. An angel came to her in a dream and told her it was part of the true cross.
What about the chalice, Ok the Crusaders didn't find it.
Nobody found it. It's a Celtic pagan myth, changed by the French into a Christian one in the Court of Mary de Champagne, daughter of Ellenor of Aquatine.
The Crusades were a thousand years after JC.
Maybe we can't count that one but then there are all those painting of the 'Last Supper'.
Painted in the Renaissance over a thousand, five hundred years too late.

There is nothing from Jesus, there are no records from the time of Jesus that mention him. We have not a single piece of evidence that remotely suggests that there ever was a Jesus.

-------
My business is to teach my aspirations to conform themselves to fact, not to try and make facts harmonize with my aspirations. ---Thomas Henry Huxley, 1860
Go to Top of Page

Starman
SFN Regular

Sweden
1613 Posts

Posted - 07/30/2002 :  01:31:03   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Starman a Private Message
quote:
We have not a single piece of evidence that remotely suggests that there ever was a Jesus.


I'd say that we have only a single piece of evidence, and as evidence goes it sucks!



"God-as revealed in his book of edicts and narratives is practically an idiot. He has nothing to say that any sensible person should want to listen to."
-- Johann Most


Edited by - StarMan on 07/30/2002 01:31:43
Go to Top of Page

opus
Skeptic Friend

Canada
50 Posts

Posted - 08/06/2002 :  07:02:11   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send opus a Private Message
Hey these forum headers should be clearer. I thought this was about Homer Simpson.

Go to Top of Page

Lars_H
SFN Regular

Germany
630 Posts

Posted - 08/06/2002 :  11:17:41   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Lars_H a Private Message
quote:

Hey these forum headers should be clearer. I thought this was about Homer Simpson.





Doh! Nobody here doubts the existence of Homer Simpson. He lives in Springfield.

Go to Top of Page

@tomic
Administrator

USA
4607 Posts

Posted - 08/06/2002 :  17:29:55   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit @tomic's Homepage Send @tomic a Private Message
Ahhhhh, but where is this Springfield?



@tomic

Gravity, not just a good idea...it's the law!
Go to Top of Page

Boron10
Religion Moderator

USA
1265 Posts

Posted - 08/06/2002 :  20:30:16   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Boron10 a Private Message
I can see Springfield on my TV at least once a day. That means it must exist. Especially now, since I have the first and second seasons of The Simpsons on DVD, I can reaffirm the validity of my belief any time I want.

-me.
Go to Top of Page

Lars_H
SFN Regular

Germany
630 Posts

Posted - 08/07/2002 :  06:30:36   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Lars_H a Private Message
quote:

Ahhhhh, but where is this Springfield?



I admit that there might be some confusion about the location of the city of Springfield since there are several towns named that, but the name of the state they are in gets mentioned several times during the series (You have to listen closly as there always is some background noise).

Homer lives in Springfield, NT.

Go to Top of Page
Page: of 2 Previous Topic Topic Next Topic  
Next Page
 New Topic  Topic Locked
 Printer Friendly Bookmark this Topic BookMark Topic
Jump To:

The mission of the Skeptic Friends Network is to promote skepticism, critical thinking, science and logic as the best methods for evaluating all claims of fact, and we invite active participation by our members to create a skeptical community with a wide variety of viewpoints and expertise.


Home | Skeptic Forums | Skeptic Summary | The Kil Report | Creation/Evolution | Rationally Speaking | Skeptillaneous | About Skepticism | Fan Mail | Claims List | Calendar & Events | Skeptic Links | Book Reviews | Gift Shop | SFN on Facebook | Staff | Contact Us

Skeptic Friends Network
© 2008 Skeptic Friends Network Go To Top Of Page
This page was generated in 0.19 seconds.
Powered by @tomic Studio
Snitz Forums 2000