Felix refutes the existence of evidence for Jesus' death

Minucius Felix, a Christian defender of the faith in about 150 AD wrote Octavius. It’s records a debate in which a Christian called Octavius was engaged in, against a pagan called Caecilius, which the Octavius stated that the charge of praying to a crucified criminal made against Christians was a calumny (The Second Century Apologists, http://human.st/jesuspuzzle/century2.htm). This amounts to a denial that Jesus died on the cross and disposes of the most important evidence for his existence: his crucifixion. Octavius even says that the pagans are fools for adoring their vulnerable dying Gods. He denied the crucifixion for if Jesus was physically nailed to the cross and died the same would be true of him and so Octavius would not have used this argument. But it is certain that in doing so he was rejecting the physical crucifixion but could or would have talked as if he believed in a crucified and dead saviour who rose. Gnostic Christianity, the original Christian faith, would have taught that the crucifixion and death and resurrection of Jesus was a metaphor that nobody could understand the meaning of without having a mystical experience that transcended the senses and reason. Octavius was influenced by it.
If Jesus was mythically crucified and mythically a criminal worshipping him would not be a problem for the story is only a way to convey mystical truth. It is being accused of adoring a real Jesus who was really physically crucified that is the problem. Christians say it was a calumny that Jesus was a criminal and that was what he meant. No for Jesus did break the law so he was a criminal though that does not make him a bad man. He sneered too at people praying to gods who had been slain.   Christians say he would have believed Jesus was divine so his case was different but no hint that Jesus was divine is given. His whole point is that beings that die cannot be divine. Octavius manages to convert his pagan philosopher opponent to Christianity which means he converted to a form that did not depend on a flesh and blood Jesus at all. The educated philosopher then knew that Jesus was a myth and his concern was the mystical Jesus in Heaven.

Felix said it was a disgrace Christians had to defend themselves against people who said they adored a crucified criminal and his cross (page 40, Jesus and the Goddess). He regarded it then as an inexcusable error. He was unable to answer an opponent who asked him if anybody ever really physically came back from the dead. He retaliated by accusing his opponent of slander instead of trying to answer the question – this was evasion. He was saying, “Though I am an apologist of the Christian faith and a scholar I know of no evidence for the death of Jesus and I don’t want to talk about it.” For Felix to say that means only that there was no evidence.


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