The Truth About Historical Jesus

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Did a man called Jesus of Nazareth walk the earth? Discussions over whether the figure known as the “Historical Jesus” actually existed primarily reflect disagreements among atheists. Believers, who uphold the implausible and more easily-dismissed “Christ of Faith” (the divine Jesus who walked on water), ought not to get involved.

Numerous secular scholars have presented their own versions of the so-called “Historical Jesus” – and most of them are, as biblical scholar J.D. Crossan puts it, “an academic embarrassment”.

From Crossan’s view of Jesus as the wise sage, to Robert Eisenman’s Jesus the revolutionary, and Bart Ehrman’s apocalyptic prophet, about the only thing New Testament scholars seem to agree on is Jesus’ historical existence. But can even that be questioned?

The first problem we encounter when trying to discover more about the Historical Jesus is the lack of early sources. The earliest sources only reference the clearly fictional Christ of Faith.

These early sources, compiled decades after the alleged events, all stem from Christian authors eager to promote Christianity – which gives us reason to question them. The authors of the Gospels fail to name themselves, describe their qualifications, or show any criticism with their foundational sources – which they also fail to identify.

Filled with mythical and non-historical information, and heavily edited over time, the Gospels certainly should not convince critics to trust even the more mundane claims made therein.

The methods traditionally used to tease out rare nuggets of truth from the Gospels are dubious.

The criterion of embarrassment says that if a section would be embarrassing for the author, it is more likely authentic. Unfortunately, given the diverse nature of Christianity and Judaism back then (things have not changed all that much), and the anonymity of the authors, it is impossible to determine what truly would be embarrassing or counter-intuitive, let alone if that might not serve some evangelistic purpose.

The criterion of Aramaic context is similarly unhelpful. Jesus and his closest followers were surely not the only Aramaic-speakers in first-century Judea.

The criterion of multiple independent attestation can also hardly be used properly here, given that the sources clearly are not independent.

Paul’s Epistles, written earlier than the Gospels, give us no reason to dogmatically declare Jesus must have existed. Avoiding Jesus’ earthly events and teachings, even when the latter could have bolstered his own claims, Paul only describes his “Heavenly Jesus”.

Even when discussing what appear to be the resurrection and the last supper, his only stated sources are his direct revelations from the Lord, and his indirect revelations from the Old Testament. In fact, Paul actually rules out human sources (see Galatians 1:11-12).

Also important are the sources we don’t have. There are no existing eyewitness or contemporary accounts of Jesus. All we have are later descriptions of Jesus’ life events by non-eyewitnesses, most of whom are obviously biased.

Little can be gleaned from the few non-Biblical and non-Christian sources, with only Roman scholar Josephus and historian Tacitus having any reasonable claim to be writing about Jesus within 100 years of his life.

And even those sparse accounts are shrouded in controversy, with disagreements over what parts have obviously been changed by Christian scribes (the manuscripts were preserved by Christians), the fact that both these authors were born after Jesus died (they would thus have probably received this information from Christians), and the oddity that centuries go by before Christian apologists start referencing them.

Agnosticism over the matter is already seemingly appropriate, and support for this position comes from independent historian Richard Carrier’s recent defence of another theory. Namely, that the belief in Jesus started as the belief in a purely celestial being (who was killed by demons in an upper realm), who became historicised over time.

To summarise Carrier’s 800-page tome, this theory and the traditional theory – that Jesus was a historical figure who became mythicised over time – both align well with the Gospels, which are later mixtures of obvious myth and what at least “sounds” historical.

The Pauline Epistles, however, overwhelmingly support the “celestial Jesus” theory, particularly with the passage indicating that demons killed Jesus, and would not have done so if they knew who he was (see: 1 Corinthians 2:6-10).

Humans – the murderers according to the Gospels – of course would still have killed Jesus, knowing full well that his death results in their salvation, and the defeat of the evil spirits.

So what do the mainstream (and non-Christian) scholars say about all this? Surprisingly very little; of substance anyway. Only Bart Ehrman and Maurice Casey have thoroughly attempted to prove Jesus’ historical existence in recent times.

Their most decisive point? The Gospels can generally be trusted – after we ignore the many, many bits that are untrustworthy – because of the hypothetical (i.e. non-existent) sources behind them.

Who produced these hypothetical sources? When? What did they say? Were they reliable? Were they intended to be accurate historical portrayals, enlightening allegories, or entertaining fictions?

Ehrman and Casey can’t tell you – and neither can any New Testament scholar.

Given the poor state of the existing sources, and the atrocious methods used by mainstream Biblical historians, the matter will likely never be resolved. In sum, there are clearly good reasons to doubt Jesus’ historical existence – if not to think it outright improbable.

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

 

Gnostic Chrestians

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The Historical Jesus Christ (the presentation of “the Christ” as taught through the medium of a presumed historical person to serve as an example for all mankind to emulate and follow), is not all there is to christianity. It’s the milk for the infant spirit, to awaken it to the mythical and then the amazing mystical. Every major religion has it’s mystical counter part, Islam included (called Sufism).

The Mythical Jesus Christ is the personification of the Sun as it moves on its prescribed path through the Heavens where we find it moving through each house of the Zodiac which goes hand in hand with the changing seasons of the year [Spring Equinox, Summer Solstice, Autumn Equinox, Winter Solstice.

The Mystical Jesus Christ is the allegorical expression of a hidden teaching, a secret doctrine, given under strict and exacting conditions to approved candidates by the Ancient Masters of Spiritual Wisdom regarding the descent of the Logos (God) into matter, ie., mankind.

What escapes the vast majority of Christianity in today’s world is that many of the stories of these “solar gods” and “godmen” down through history which parallel the events in the life of the New Testament “Christ” as found in the New Testament and which appear at first thought to be apparently historical were really purely allegorical. This is why the stories of Osiris, Horus, Dionysus, Attis, Adonis, Mithra, and a host of others read like the New Testament “Jesus Story”. Nowhere is it more necessary to understand this than when we are studying the story of Jesus, surnamed “the Christ”, for when we fail to separate the allegory from the literal truth, and see where the symbols have been mistakenly taken and believed as “historical” events, allegories as histories, we lose most of the instructiveness of the narrative and much of its “Eternal Truth” once given to the Ancient Spiritual Masters. Men fear that Christianity will be weakened when one comes to this understanding, and that it is “dangerous” to admit that events thought to be “historical” have a deeper significance in both a “mythical” and “mystic meaning”. Those who advocate not delving into these deeper areas of understanding of “the Christ” keep others from recovering the truths concerning “the Christ” as the Ancients who gave us those concepts understood them and “him” in the first place. Let us not forget that as Egypt taught in the beginning of recorded history mankind was made in the image of God and not God in the image of man!

The “Mystical Jesus Christ” is how the earliest Christians (actually called Chrestians, not Christians; Chrestians literally means The Good Ones) and the First New Testament from Marcion, which Rome would later corrupt and destroy, understood “the Christ” as a Divine Allegory of a Divine Concept inherent within all of mankind and not exclusive to just one person. That is why this First New Testament of these earliest Gnostic “Chrestian” believers did not teach a “fleshly” or a “historical Jesus Christ”. Nor did the authentic letters of Paul in the modern New Testament teach a Jesus of flesh. His letters were edited, and even misrepresented to make it look like Paul, a Gnostic, hated Gnostics. What a cruel thing to do! An Epistle of Paul are truly now just ”a piss hole of Rome.”

The “Gnostic” understanding of “the Christ” would be lost to the world by the fifth century and forced “underground” by Roman Christianity and their military might. These earlier Gnostic Spiritual Masters were almost persecuted out of existence by Rome and the “Divine Allegory of the Christ Within” would be later “literalized” by Rome in their Second New Testament. Lost to the world will be the earliest understanding of “the Jesus Christ” as known since the beginning of recorded time. This is where most of Christianity exists today believing in a “Literalized Jesus Christ” which has been presented as a historical person when the deeper truths of the “Christ Within” are seldom heard and that goes double for the “Mythical Christ”.

Christians and followers of “the Christ” have a spiritual book given us by Rome that is “forged” in key places which hides these deeper truths from us. It is well past time we get new “keys” to understand our Creator and His true message to us.

Gnosticism flourished in Egypt and Western Asia between 250 B.C. and AD. 400. It was a Theosophic movement made up of elements of Egyptian mythology, Indian metaphysics, Judaism, and Greek philosophy. Gnosticism was overwhelmed by Orthodox Christianity in the fourth century, AD., but some of the lost Gnostic literature has been recovered. The ancient Gnostics were those who “knew”, just as the modern Agnostics are those who “do not know”. Gnostics believed in a Supreme God who was both unknown and unknowable. This unknown god was not the creator of the world; this task was delegated to lesser gods (the demiurge), who were emanations of this Supreme God. Egypt called this the “many in the One”. These subordinate gods or emanations (attributes) from the One true God, who created and governed the world, were called “Aeons”. Among the Aeons were:

 

The Logos (The Word, Christ [masculine])

 

Sophia (Wisdom [feminine])

 

Nous (Mind)

 

Phronesis (Judgment)

 

Dynamis (Power)

 

All of the above are but attributes of the One Supreme Mind, they exist separately but yet are interrelated. The Supreme God and the Aeons altogether formed the Pleroma (Fullness of the Godhead).

After the Roman Emperor Constantine made the Christian religion the State religion of the empire the remaining Gnostics were persecuted out of existence and their literature was destroyed. How and why Gnosticism was destroyed by organized Christianity is, as a rule, glossed over in history textbooks. One American scholar has penned an accurate and colorful account of these episodes. Please read the following slowly and gleam the truths from it:

“Preceding Christianity there was a school of science and philosophy which had accumulated practically all the wisdom and knowledge understandable to mankind. The object was to broadly educate the masses of the people by a unit system which would give to humanity a wisdom in common. This was the most potential period in human intellectual advancement the world has known. This school was called Gnosticism. Gnosis means to know – knowledge. Christianity means to believe – ignorance. These are the two schools; the one advocating the universal education of men, the other the universal ignorance of men. The one desired to develop the unit man, the other desired to suppress the unit and level all mankind to a common plastic mass. To accomplish this necessitated the suppressing of all extant knowledge; the closing of all the avenues through which people might acquire independent learning, education and intellectual training, and the debasement of humanity in abject ignorance The school which pitted itself against Gnosticism assumed the name Ecclesia. This name at once identified the purpose for which the organization was created to seize control of government, that it might exploit mankind for profit, and for its own glorification. Temporal power was the church goal. The name Ecclesia was derived from the Greek, and signified the legislative body which governed ancient Athens long before Christianity was invented. The first essential act of the Eccliesiasts was to suppress Gnosticism, and confiscate its vast accumulation of wisdom and knowledge, in order to control the education of future generations in a manner to adjust mankind to its purposes. Therefore the Gnostic wisdom was not wholly lost to the world but its great, universal educational system was supplanted and displaced. It is a well-established historical fact, not denied by the church that it required about 500 years to accomplish this submersion of Gnosticism, and to degrade the new generations in ignorance equal to the state of imbecility. History again points its accusing finger at the living evidence. The horrible results of such a crime against nature and mankind are pictured in the Dark Ages .. . Not even priests or prelates were permitted to learn to read or write. Even bishops could barely spell out their Latin. During this period of mental darkness, the ignorant masses were trained in intolerance, bigotry, fanaticism, and superstitious fear of an invisible power secretly controlled by the church; all of which begat a state of hysteria and imbecility. Through this terrorism popes seized control of the temporal power, retaining this control for nearly 1500 years. They appointed and deposed kings at will, hence they dictated legislation to their ends and purposes – the very essence of government . . . This process of legislating evil into mankind is to vindicate that damnable doctrine of original sin, which slanders nature and insults all mankind . . . Originally the motive was to confiscate the intellects of man, but the modern policy is much more concerned in confiscating their personal rights and property. Here is the other aspect of the suppression of Gnosticism. Its method of teaching was an understandable symbolism. It specifically recognized nature as the great teacher, and visible things as the traditional records of past events, in progressive evolution from the lowest state to the highest, with thinking, reasoning man as the highest evoluted being. Man did not fall, he was raised up by a natural promotion. Hence every man was a Gnostic to the extent of his accumulated knowledge and understanding. Thus each unit man became a teacher, and all men were given equal rights in the acquirement of knowledge. It was wholly an educational system, and a natural consequence in evolution. The Eccliesiasts, the Roman church, being thoroughly familiar with the Gnostic wisdom concerning astronomy, chemistry, and mathematics, as demonstrated by the splendid systems of Babylon, Egypt and Assyria, conceived the idea of developing a religio-political form of universal government, to control and exploit the future generations of people upon the earth through living, personified agents of the imaginary heavenly powers. . . to monopolize such a divine power as that contemplated it was necessary to personify nature, using the Gnostic system of symbolisms, and to give to these wholly imaginary beings names and functions. The Gnostic system had to be confiscated, and Gnosticism suppressed, to prevent exposure. This is why Christianity is so viciously antagonistic towards science and philosophy.” ~ (Thomas Sawyer Spivey; The Last of The Gnostic Masters, pp. 544-551.)

 

source: Craig M. Lyons Ms.D., D.D., M.Div. – Bet Emit (House of Truth)