The Historical Jesus 

By Ted Belman

Scholars have long recognized that the historical Jesus and the Jesus of faith are not one and the same. Many such scholars both Christian and otherwise participate every few years in the Jesus Seminar which reviews recent discoveries and treatises which shed light on the historical Jesus. They cast ballots to state their opinions on whether each statement or act attributed to Jesus in the Gospels can’t be true, might be true or probably is true. Much has been written on the historical Jesus and continues to be written. Most scholars, except for the fundamentalists and literalists, are of the opinion that very little in the gospels is true. But does it matter.

Some Christian scholars argue that the historical Jesus is irrelevant. Its the Jesus of faith that counts. Others would say that if Jesus wasn’t the son of G-d or G-d himself or, less extreme, if he didn’t say the things or do the deeds or have the personality attributed to him in the Gospels then Christianity is meaningless. Before we Jews get too smug, we must realize that one could also argue that if the Torah wasn’t inspired by G-d or if G-d didn’t liberate the Jews from Egypt or enter into a covenant with Abraham that Judaism would have no foundation in truth. In both cases religion would be a man made construct executed after the events depicted. Yet before we dismiss these religions and all others of which the same can be said, we must realize that man has always enshrined basic truths as they understood them in mythology. What counts then is the message and not the facts; or, what counts is not what happened, only what people think happened.. My purpose is not to delve further into this debate but simply to identify for you what is known about the historical Jesus.

The New Testament

We learn about the Jesus of Faith from the New Testament. It consists of, among other things, the Epistles of Paul written (50-60 CE) after the death of Jesus (32 CE), Acts of the Apostles, written about 100 CE, which describes the putative beginnings of the Church and the role of Paul, and the four Gospels ( 70-110 CE) which deal with the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus. When studying the New Testament, it is important to keep in mind that although the Gospels deal with the life of Jesus, they were written long after the Epistles of Paul which are the first writings. Accordingly the Gospels were greatly affected by Paul’s ideas and interpretations. As you can well imagine there were many rewrites to these entities over the first 300 years of the C.E. and there were many other testimonies and written stories. What we have today as the New Testament was compiled and edited into final form in 325 CE when Christianity became the official religion of Rome.

The question arises,.. to what extent is the Jesus of faith set out in these Gospels, coincident with the historical Jesus.

Josephus

Before dealing either with the Jesus of faith or the historical Jesus, it’s important to introduce Josephus (37-96 CE) to you. Josephus wrote The Jewish Wars in the seventies, after the destruction of the Temple and wrote Antiquities in the nineties, He originally fought with the Jewish resistance against the Romans but ultimately switched allegiance to the Romans. He became connected at the highest levels and became a Roman citizen. His meticulous reproduction of events and persons in Palestine in this period is without equal in almost any time or place up to the era of modern record keeping and reportage. It is because of these books that we know so much today of what took place. These books were preserved by the Church, because they were thought to refer to Jesus. In them, Josephus suggests that Jesus was “more than a man”, avers him to have been “the Christ” and refers to his resurrection “on the third day”. From such a lover of detail, not much at all for someone, the Gospels consider to be the center piece of the times.

Scholars do not accept that Josephus would have written thus, because it is in line with orthodox Christian teachings which developed after he wrote these books and is in conflict with his view, elsewhere expressed, that the troubles were caused by the messianic deceivers of whom Jesus would have been one. They suggest that the Church was the author of these interpolations. In fact Josephus did not refer to Jesus, James his brother or John the Baptist in Jewish Wars, but did so in Antiquities, presumably because he felt more secure twenty years later.

Where the Gospels and Josephus agree, is on blaming the Jews and praising the Romans, in general, and Pilate (who crucified Jesus) and Titus (who destroyed the Temple) in particular, for their clemency and indulgence. The Gospels blame the Jews for rejecting Jesus and Josephus blames the Jews for rejecting Rome. For the destruction of the Temple, Josephus says “we have only ourselves to blame” and “the Temple was burned against the wishes of Caesar.”. In the Gospel of Matthew, when Jesus is crucified, the Jews are reputed to have said “his blood be upon us and upon our children.” and Pilot is reputed to have been agreeable to releasing Jesus or Barabbas and the Jews picked Barabbas thereby condemning Jesus. The parallels are striking. It is obvious that they were both marching to the same drummer, Rome.

Paul

Our search for Jesus must start with the study of Paul who was the founder of Christianity. He is regarded as the great interpreter of Jesus’ mission, who explained, in a way that Jesus never did, how Jesus’ life and death fit into the cosmic scheme of salvation. It was as a result of his theories and efforts that Christianity came into being.

He claimed in his Epistles to have been born a Jew and to have been a Pharisee. The Pharisees at the time were held in high regard by the Roman and Parthian empires as dedicated group who upheld religious ideals in the face of tyranny, supported leniency and mercy in the application of laws, and championed the rights of the poor against the oppression of the rich. Paul, who was earlier known as Saul, was claiming a high honour. It was only as a result of the Gospels that the Pharisees got an undeserved reputation for hypocrisy. Paul obviously was attempting to get greater legitimacy for his views by showing he was learned in the Law.

Acts of the Apostles surprisingly, in telling the life of Paul many decades after his death, adds to and subtracts from the details given in the Epistles. I quote from Acts words reputed to be said by Paul when speaking to Jews in Palestine,

  1. “I am a true-born Jew, a native of Tarsus in Cilicia. (Earlier he claimed to be born a Roman citizen which means his father was a Roman citizen.) I was brought up in this city, and as a student of Gamaliel (This is very doubtful), I was thoroughly trained in every point of our ancestral law. I was always ardent in G-d’s service as you all are today (He is acknowledging that Jews adhered to the Law.). And so I began to persecute this movement to the death, arresting its followers, men and women alike, and putting them in chains (He doesn’t say why.). For this I have as witness the High Priest and the whole Council of Elders.”

and later when speaking to King Agrippa

  1. “My life from my youth up, the life I led from the beginning among my people and in Jerusalem is familiar to all Jews.(This is not considered to be true.) Indeed they have known me long enough and could testify, if only they would, (but as you will see, they would never testify for him.) that I belonged to the strictest group in our religion: I lived as a Pharisee. (There were stricter groups.) And it is for a hope kindled by G-d’s promise to our forefathers that I stand in the dock today. Our twelve tribes hope to see the fulfillment of that promise … I myself thought it my duty to work actively against the name of Jesus of Nazareth; and I did so in Jerusalem. (Actually he worked for the High Priest who was a quisling and wanted to suppress the messianic revolt against the Romans and the establishment.) It was I who imprisoned many of G-ds people by authority obtained from the chief priests (you see); and when they were condemned to death my vote was cast against them (as though he were a member of the Sanhedrin and entitled to vote or perhaps it was the Romans who condemned them to death for being part of the resistance after Paul turned them in). In all the synagogues I tried by repeated punishment to get them to renounce their faith (more likely, their resistance.); indeed my fury rose to such a pitch that I extended my persecution to foreign cities. On one such occasion I was traveling to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests….”

The Pharisees are depicted in Acts as opposing the persecution of the followers of Jesus and at odds with the Sanhedrin. Yet Paul as a Pharisee is virulently anti-Christian. To add to the confusion Paul is also described here as on a mission for the chief priest who was by definition a Saduccee. It is unlikely that the high priest would select a Pharisee to work for him. Why all the confusion. We’ll see.

Epiphany

On the way to Damascus, Paul had an epiphany in which he had a vision of the resurrected Jesus and became a convert. He articulated the doctrine that Jesus was a divine-human person who had descended to Earth from the heavens and experienced death for the express purpose of saving mankind. This doctrine had much in common with Greek mythology that has many a god coming down to earth for a particular purpose and then returning and nothing in common with Judaism except by distortion. Yet Paul claimed that every line of the Jewish scriptures was a foreshadowing of the Jesus-event and must be interpreted in this light. Paul wrote in his Epistles, “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures.” and “he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures.” All Jews including Paul looked to the scriptures to support their position.

Christianity

Christianity insists that it is a progression of Judaism and contains a ’new covenant’ and a ‘new testament’ which overrides the old. Inconsistently the Gospels also have Jesus proclaiming a New Church. It also insists that Christians are now the chosen people. Mind you, fundamentalist Christian denominations still believe that God has a special relation ship with the Jews and will restore them to the promised land. That is why they are such strong supporters of the State of Israel. Judaism on the other hand rejects Christianity outright. Both claimed that they alone interpreted the Scriptures properly. The more they fought over this the more they distanced themselves from each other. The final fracture came in the late 80’s of the Common Era when Jewish services were altered to include “anathemas” against all who deviated from strict orthodox standards and who relativized the ultimate truth of the Torah. This resulted in the excommunication of the Christians from synagogue life and ultimately from Judaism. No doubt a major cause of this was their abrogation of Mosaic Law. This conflict is similar to the present conflict between the orthodox and liberal or secular Jews in Israel.

Christ

As you know, ‘Christ’ is the Greek word for ‘Messiah’, the anointed one. That doesn’t mean that the two words today have the same meaning. For Jews, the messiah has always meant a normal person born of a young woman in the Davidic line who would lead the Jews to a military victory and restore the Kingdom of G-d on earth with him as King. While Jesus was alive Jews may have looked to him as the messiah destined to defeat the Romans militarily and restore sovereignty to the Jewish people. Such victory over the forces of evil, it was thought, could usher in the Messianic era of peace and prosperity; in other words, the Kingdom of God on earth. To Jews therefore, his crucifixion should have ended all speculation that he may have been the Messiah. Yet many continued to hope that Jesus, the human, had entered heaven alive and was waiting for the moment to return to earth. This was in accordance with a long standing tradition in Judaism concerning many a folk hero. Paul was in agreement, with the caveat that Jesus was also somewhat divine although he didn’t define this and probably didn’t believe Jesus was God incarnate. He also argued Jesus died for our sins, (which he did not explain), but did hint at the notion of the “original sin” of Adam. It took 400 years for such Christian theology to develop. What resulted as “Christ” is an entirely different concept from the Jewish “messiah’.

Faith vs Works

Another difference of opinion relating to the abrogation of the Law was that Paul said “Justification not by works of the Law but rather through faith in Jesus Christ.” and “if Righteousness is through the Law, Christ died for nothing.” Judaism believed that you must follow the law and do good works to have a portion in the world to come whereas according to Paul, faith alone is enough for salvation. This difference is expressed many times throughout the literature of the times. The Koran follows the Jewish view in this regard. Today Reform Judaism rejects much of the Law but doesn’t accept Jesus as Christ or Christians as replacing Jews as the chosen elect. Similarly, Christians believe that good works are also important but that they are not necessary for salvation.

Furthermore, Paul claimed that his interpretations came to him by personal inspiration and that he had a personal acquaintance with the resurrected Jesus gained through a vision. He also claimed that such visionary acquaintance was superior to a lifetime acquaintance.

Abraham

Paul describes the Gentile Christian Community as the true Children of Abraham’s wife Sarah and the Jews as the Children of Hagar the bondservant. He intentionally links the Bondage of Hagar with the bondage of the Jews to the Law. This is a prime example of the New Testament offering an inversion of the scriptures. No lie is too big. It is rife with such distortions and inversions. Mohammed, six centuries later also claimed descent, for all Arabs, from Abraham through Hagar and Ishmael. And Ishmael was the first born. Thus Abraham becomes the father of all three religions.

It is interesting to note that Paul never met Jesus, appears on the scene a few years after the death of Jesus and either knows nothing or is willing to tell us nothing about him. Isn’t that odd. Only two historical points emerge from his writings; firstly that Jesus was crucified and secondly that he had several brothers one of whom was called James. In fact, taking the brother relationship seriously may turn out to be one of the only confirmations outside the New Testament, that there ever was a historical Jesus.

Ebionites

In contrast to what the New Testament says of Paul, writings by the Ebionites, a Jewish messianic sect, claim that Paul had no Pharisaic background or training, converted to Judaism, came to Jerusalem as an adult, and attached himself to the high priest as a henchman and tax collector.. This is by far the more credible biography.

The name Ebionites comes from the Hebrew word “ebion” meaning “the poor”. They were a Jewish messianic sect who followed the Law, revered James and believed that Jesus was a human conceived by natural means. In the Letter of James which is included in the New Testament and is thought by some to be authentic, James refers to “the Poor chosen by God as the heirs to the Kingdom to whom the piety command of loving God is applied”. The focus of Christianity on “the poor” or “the meek” derives from Jesus’ association with this group. Also it is easy to see where the Christian notion of ‘the meek inheriting the earth’ came from.

Before pursuing the historical Jesus further or expanding on his brother James who keeps cropping up, it is necessary to provide the Jewish context of the times.

Phinehas

Strangely we must go all the way back to the Book of Numbers in the Torah where it is written “the people began to commit harlotry with the daughters of Moab. And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their Gods, and the people did eat and bow down to their gods”. G-d was angered by this and ordered Moses to kill the wayward Israelites and the Torah states that four and twenty thousand were killed by Moses. One Israelite took a Midianite woman into the sanctuary before Moses and the congregation and fornicated there with her. Phinehas, the grandson of Aaron, in a moment of zeal killed them both and G-d rewarded “him and his seed after him, the covenant of an everlasting priesthood; because he was jealous for his G-d”. In Psalm CVI, we read that “his zeal was counted unto him for righteousness”.

These writings are the origin of the attitude that Jews must not have intercourse with gentiles for it would pollute them. Also that G-d rewards those who are zealous for the law and brook no compromise.

Chanukah

The occupation of Palestine by the Greeks (333 BCE) not only resulted in the Hellenization of the Jewish establishment but also the Hellenization of Jewish religious practices. This Hellenization was not unlike the intercourse with the Moabites described above. The masses led by the Maccabees rose up (167 BCE) and defeated the Greeks over a period of 30 years and cleansed the Temple of their pollution. The masses yearned for a return to the purity of the Jewish people and the Jewish religion. All foreign influences had to be expelled. Chanukah as you may know, means “rededication”.

The Maccabees held the position of High Priest, having come from a priestly family, and continued so until the Romans conquered Palestine 100 years later. They were popular, nationalistic and zealous for the law. The Pharisees we hear so much about in the New Testament may have got their name, which means “those who separated from”, from a group that deserted the cause of the Maccabeans in favour of a foreign appointed High Priestly claimant during the second century BCE. More about this later.

Alexander Jannaeus, Judas Maccabees’ grand nephew (103-76 BCE), also had similar problems with Greek intervention and with the support of the people defeated the Greek Syrians (Seleucids). He then turned on the Pharisees who had collaborated with the foreign invaders, and killed some 800 of them according to Josephus. Alexander had two sons; one was nationalistic and was supported by the people because “they were sick of servility” and the other was anti-nationalist, more accommodating and supported by the Pharisees.

It would appear that the Pharisees were more accommodating to foreign influences and thus less nationalistic, then the people. This may explain why they were held in high regard as mentioned earlier and why Paul, being a Roman citizen, claimed to be one of them. The Gospels also considered Jesus to be a Pharisee.

The Book of Daniel

The Book of Daniel was written after the defeat of the Greeks and was one of the last books included in Jewish scriptures. Centuries later the Rabbis down graded it from “Prophets” where it was first placed to the lesser “Writings”. No doubt the Rabbis saw it as a prophetic expression we now call apocalyptic and one that gave rise to the Uprising against the Romans and the destruction of the Temple. It was at the time, the expression favoured by the nationalistic masses. Along with Ezekial and Isaiah, it is the most important scriptural inspiration for much of the apocalyptic ideology and symbolism of the Dead Sea Scrolls as well as for the literature of Christianity. Daniel includes the only overt reference to resurrection in the entire Old Testament., “Of those who lie sleeping in the dust of the earth, many will wake, some to everlasting life…, for their share at the End of Time.”

Although the Messiah is referred to in Daniel as the “Son of God”, Judaism never took this literally.

Romans

Prior to conquering Palestine in 63 BCE, the Romans got along well with the Jews within their empire and accorded them religious liberty. They even regarded them as allies in the Greek cities they had conquered because the Greeks remained hostile. By the beginning of the Common Era, one/tenth of the entire Roman Empire was Jewish and as much as 40% of Alexandria was Jewish.

The problems started in the decades following the conquest with the appointment by Rome of the gentile Herod to be king of the Jews and with the appointment Alexander’s anti-nationalist son to be the High Priest. There followed certain disturbances which resulted in the nationalist leaders taking refuge in the Temple. The Pharisees joined the Romans in storming the Temple “against the will of the people”. As Josephus bears witness, “the Pharisees engaged in the wholesale slaughter that ensued, even more enthusiastically than the Romans”.

Josephus reports in Antiquities that a movement began at this time among the people “who had an inviolable attachment to liberty” and were “zealous for the law”. He further notes that “the nation was infected by it to an incredible degree.”.

Thus the stage is set for an endless succession of revolts culminating in final Uprising in 66-70 CE.

On the one side we find the spiritual successors to Phinehas and the Maccabbees who were messianic, nationalistic, anti-foreign, anti-accommodationist and zealous for the law. These included such sects such as the Essenes, Zealots, Ebionites and the Qumran Community. It also included the early Christians, whoever they were.

On the other side we have the Romans supported by the establishment i.e. Herodians, Pharisees and Saduccees. They were all accommodationists or as some historical writings put it, “seekers after smooth things.”. To the nationalist camp this was a betrayal of the worst kind and was “breaking the law”. They resented the foreign king Herod, the foreign appointed High Priest and sacrifices in the Temple by and on behalf of foreigners. They also resented that the Jewish daughters of Herod were marrying blood relatives contrary to Mosaic Law. They referred to them as prostitutes. In the Gospels, Jesus is shown to be befriending or eating meals with “prostitutes” and “tax collectors” whereas in reality it was the actions of these “prostitutes” and tax collectors which so offended the nationalist camp.

Both Josephus and Vespasian blamed the uprising against Rome on the Messianic fervor that gripped the land. This flies in the face of the Gospel claims that Jews suffered the destruction of the Temple because they rejected the Messiah. The New Testament makes much of the persecution of the Christians due to their belief in the Jesus of faith. In fact, the persecution was due to their support of the historical Jesus who wanted to restore Jewish sovereignty. Actually the Romans tried to suppress all the groups which were messianic and nationalistic. Herod even ordered that all Jewish males in the line of David be put to death to put an end to this fervor. Once the Christians were removed from Judaism and accommodated themselves to Roman rule, they were no longer persecuted although they weren’t respected by Romans at first, because they were religious radicals in breaking with Judaism, and Rome preferred respect for authority and the established order.

This movement was reflected in Masada and breathed its last gasp in the Bar Kochba Revolt in 132CE.

Jesus

The historical Jesus was part of this resistance and as such, he would have been against the “prostitutes” and tax collectors.. He followed the law and worked toward the overthrow of the establishment and the Romans. Thousands of such Jewish revolutionaries were crucified by the Romans during his lifetime.

There may be some truth in the Gospels which say that the High Priest or Saduccees turned him over to the Romans saying he claimed to be the King of the Jews. (they meant in the political sense and not in the religious sense.) After all, the High Priest was a quisling and part of the establishment aligned with the Romans. This could explain why Paul persecuted Christians on behalf of the High Priest. The Romans then crucified Jesus for sedition. The part of the story which claimed that he was tried by the Sanhedrin before being turned over to the Romans to decide his fate can not be true. No offense was alleged in the Gospels, over which the Sanhedrin had jurisdiction and the Sanhedrin would not have convened on Passover to try him as alleged in the Gospels. The story of Jesus over-turning the tables of the money-changers in the Temple could also have been true because the nationalists were angry about what was going on in the Temple and at odds with the High Priest. The nationalist camp often robbed the establishment as part of their war against them. As a result, they were referred to as “robbers”. Jesus, we are told, was crucified along side of two such “robbers”.

In “A Search for the Historical Jesus “ written by a far eastern scholar it is argued that Jesus did not die on the cross but feigned death and survived. Afterwards he went to the East and lived for another 70 years. This would explain why his body was not found after the Sabbath and how his disciples could have seen him apparently alive in the days following as he was on his way to the East. Jesus is quoted in the Gospels as saying to his Apostles after his resurrection, “feel me, I am real”, to allay their fears. Much evidence is quoted in support of this theory.

James the Brother of Jesus

In contrast to the paucity of extra-biblical sources mentioning Jesus or Paul, there are a myriad of extra-biblical sources about James, the brother of Jesus, whose Jewish name was Jacob. One might ask if Jesus was by far the more important of the two, why is so much written about James and so little about Jesus. One might also ask, what has James got to do with the historical Jesus. The answer,.. lots.

James, the brother of Jesus, is the key to unlocking the secrets of early Christianity and the Dead Sea Scrolls according to Professor Eisenman. He is one of the most eminent scholars on first century Palestine. He led the fight to get the Dead Sea Scrolls made public. His thesis is set out his book entitled James the Brother of Jesus which I will refer to later on.

From Acts and other sources we learn that Jesus appointed James to be leader of the “early Church” or “Jerusalem Assembly”. He fulfilled this role from the 30’s to the 60’s.. To have been “Head” or “Bishop’ of the ‘Jerusalem Church” was to have been head of the whole of Christianity as it then was. Paul, who was actively promoting “Christianity” in the same time period, bridled under James’ authority and was constantly at odds with him. Paul speaks of this conflict many times and acknowledges that James is the leader. But nowhere is the conflict over whether Jesus was divine. There was room for some disagreement on that. What mattered were their differences over whether the Law had been abrogated and whether Jews could fraternize with gentiles.

James, because of his great righteousness, was called ‘James the Just’ or ‘James the Righteous’. He was also the acknowledged leader of the opposition alliance as well as the Bishop of the Jerusalem Community. At one point in the ‘40s, according to early Christian sources, the Jewish establishment, concerned that “there was danger that the whole people would now expect Jesus as the Messiah”, called on James with the following request;

  1. “We Beseech you, persuade all the people who are coming for the Passover Festival concerning Jesus for we all have confidence in you. For we and all the people testify to you that you are the Just One and not a respecter of persons. Therefore persuade the people not to be led astray concerning Jesus for we and all the people must obey you.”

James replied “Why do you ask me about the Son of Man (Son of Adam). He is now sitting on the right hand of the Great Power and is about to come on the clouds of Heaven.” These words were originally coined in the Book of Daniel. In Christian theology, Son of Man, as denotative of Jesus, is one of the most precious references..

In the tradition of Phinehas and the Maccabees, James viewed the Romans and the Herodians as polluting the Temple. He held that Jews should not fraternize with the foreigners which included breaking bread with them. Paul on the other hand argued that the Law no longer applied and that anything could be eaten with anyone and circumcision was no longer necessary. Paul wanted gentile converts to be converted without the necessity of circumcision and bondage to Mosaic law and went so far as to argue that the Law no longer applied to Jews. James found it necessary to advise all communities in his movement that he in effect sets the party line and to police Paul. Acts tells us that Paul so angered the Jews that they tried to kill him. In an early Church document we are told that Paul began a riot in the Temple where James was preaching and “the enemy (Paul) attacked James and threw him headlong from the top of the Temple steps” and left him for dead.

James became an alternate High Priest to one, Ananas, appointed by the successor of Herod. This was one more reason why Paul was persecuting Christians on behalf of the High Priest as above set out. James also was permitted to enter that part of the Temple to which only the High Priest could enter and to wear the vestments of the High Priest. The bitter rivalry between James and Ananas resulted in Ananas convening the Sanhedrin to try James for blasphemy. It dutifully sentenced James to death by stoning. The sentence was carried out (62 CE). In retaliation, the nationalists assassinated Ananas and then rose up against Rome.

Prior to the death of James (62 CE), Pauline Christianity had made little headway. Paul died about six years after James but not before establishing a foothold for his ideas in the Jewish communities in the Greek and Roman world.

All the foregoing comes from the New Testament and other early Christian writings.

Aftermath of Temple destruction

The uprising resulted in the wholesale slaughter of Jews (1 million in Palestine and 1.5 million in Alexandria) and the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and the lesser temple in Alexandria.

After the destruction of the Temple, the accommodationists curried even more favour with the Romans in order to survive and prosper. Pauline Christianity grew into Christianity as we know it and Jamesian Christianity died out. The other accommodationists, the Pharisees were appointed the tax collectors for the Romans and survived to become the dominant force in Judaism.

Thus messianic Judaism died out and Rabbinic Judaism took hold. There was no longer a need for the priestly class to oversee the Temple rites and sacrifices and they lost their power and position. The destruction of the Temple irrevocably changed both “Christianity” and Judaism forever.

The highly Hellenized movement that developed overseas after the destruction of the Temple, which we now call Christianity, was far different from the Jerusalem Church under James. Even so, Eusebius, a Christian scholar records around 300 CE that the first 10 Bishops of the Jerusalem Church were all circumcised Jews. They observed the dietary laws, the Jewish Sabbath and the festivals including Yom Kippur (thus showing that they did not regard the death of Jesus as atoning for their sins

Scholars assume that since Jesus appointed his brother James to lead his movement they must have been in agreement. They believe that anything in the New Testament about Jesus not in keeping with what they know about James is simply a fabrication. The scriptures are not accepted as historical because they present Jesus as anti-nationalistic, cosmopolitan, antinomian and accepting of foreigners and persons with perceived impurities. Just the opposite of James.

True Prophet Ideology

Deuteronomy is among the proof text found at Qumran and is the basis of the idea that a Prophet would succeed the heritage defined by Moses in the Old Testament. This is known as the “True Prophet” ideology. Following this legacy, Christians and Muslims consider Jesus and Mohammed to be “True Prophets” respectively. Judaism rejects both prophets believing that revelation in the Hebrew Bible is the be all and end all of revelation. In other words, there would be no new prophets or revelations..

Dead Sea Scrolls

Professor Eisenman turned to the Dead Sea Scrolls, which included the Habakkuk Commentary, to look for new insights. He was surprised to note that the story they told was surprisingly similar to that told by Acts, Josephus and other early Christian historians as set out above. They told the story of the Teacher of Righteousness, unnamed, who was an exemplar of righteousness and the acknowledged leader of the sectarian religious community who were zealous for the law. The “Teacher” had to contend with two distinct enemies. One was called the “Liar” or “Spouter of Lies”. He was an outsider who was admitted to the community, then turned renegade, quarreled with the Teacher and hijacked part of the community’s doctrine and membership. He “did not listen to the word received by the Teacher of Righteousness from the mouth of G-d”. He appealed to the “unfaithful of the New Covenant in that they have not believed in the covenant of God and have profaned his holy name”. “The Liar flouted the law in the midst of their whole congregation“ and ”led many astray”. The second adversary was the “Wicked Priest” whose story conformed exactly to that of Ananas with much more detail added. Thus Eisenman argues that part of the Scrolls and the Habakkuk Commentary deal with the same events recounted in Acts and Josephus and that Paul is the “spouter of Lies” and James “The Teacher of Righteousness”. Christianity tried to withhold the Scrolls from public study, preferring to impose their self serving interpretation on the world at large as they have for 2000 years. They also argue that the Scrolls were written before the time of James and thus couldn’t refer to him. What they were resisting and continue to resist is the inescapable conclusion that Jesus and the early Christians were part of the nationalist camp and zealous for the Law. This is the opposite of how they portray Jesus and his followers today.

In his exegesis, Prof. Eisenman dissects all the stories and word usages in the Gospels to show the origins of same and to clearly demonstrate that either the stories were either inversions of truth or misappropriations of truth or allusions to truth. As for word usages, he demonstrates the real meaning of the words or why the particular words are being used. I have already pointed out the special meaning for the words “robbers” and “prostitutes”. You are aware that the Gospels contain stories of Jesus and the Apostles fishing in the Galilee. Eisenman argues that the literal meaning is of no value and the real meaning lies in what the ‘fish’ represent (dead Jews), and what the ‘casting of nets’ represent (the “casting down” of James from the Temple Walls) etc. It is truly fascinating to see behind the words and stories of the Gospels.

Faith and Salvation

“Faith” was the foundation piece of Pauline theology. Although it was not part of Judaic teaching at the time, it in fact comes from the Book of Habakkuk a text of Old Testament apocrypha dating from before 500 BCE which reads “the upright man will live by his faithfulness”. Paul uses these exact words to support his theories. But the Habakkuk Commentary found among the Scrolls comments on this statement as follows.

  1. But the righteous shall live by his faith. Interpreted, this concerns all those who observe the Law in the House of Judah, Whom G-d will deliver from the House of Judgment because of their suffering and because of their faith in the Teacher of Righteousness.

This extra-ordinary passage is tantamount, in effect, to a formulation of early Christian doctrine. It states explicitly that suffering and faith in the Teacher of Righteousness constitute the path to deliverance and salvation. This is where Paul derived the foundation for his theology but he contrives to leave out the most important part, namely, that it only applies to ‘those who observe the Law in the House of Judah’.

Yohannan ben Zacchai

As an interesting side note, the Talmud tells the story of how Yohanan ben Zacchai was smuggled out of Jerusalem in a coffin during the siege of Jerusalem and sent an arrow into the camp of Titus with the following note “Rabbi Yohanan is one of the Emperors’ friends”. He also applied the “Star Prophecy”, the most precious prophecy of the Jewish people at the time, to Vespasian, saying that he was the Ruler prophesied to come out of Palestine and rule the world. Talk about obsequiousness. Ben Zacchai was rewarded with a Jewish academy at Yavneh. Some draw a parallel with this story and the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Ben Zacchai also died so to speak, i.e. was put in a coffin, and was subsequently ‘resurrected’.

Socrates

A second interesting side note is to compare the story of the crucifixion of Jesus with the execution of Socrates. Both refused to answer their interlocutors or to avoid their fate. Indeed much of the legacy of Socrates and Plato is incorporated into the materials about Jesus including the notions of non-resistance to Evil and a Justice that does not consist of helping your friends and harming your enemies; all doctrines absolutely alien to the Palestinian milieu.

Liberating the Gospels by J. S. Spong, Episcopalian Bishop

According to Bishop Spong, and after reading this book you will have no doubt, the Gospels were written in the style of the Midrash with a thoroughly Jewish context and content. As the Midrash is not to be taken literally, so too, the Gospels were not intended to be taken literally. He argues that the stories are interpretive narratives about the meaning of Jesus using images and themes from the Hebrew Bible and are meant to be read along with the Torah readings weekly throughout the year..

To prove his point, he superimposed the Gospels on the Jewish liturgical readings. This took some work. First he concluded that the earliest and most reliable Gospel, Mark, was intended to cover the period from Rosh Hashanah to Passover. Since the event of the crucifixion brought the Christian people into existence as the people of God it had a parallel in Passover which saw the birth of the Jewish nation. Jesus was the Pascal lamb. His blood was put on the cross to save mankind as the blood of the Pascal lamb was put on the door posts to save the first born. To partake in the body or blood of Christ as all Christians do symbolically today, is to partake of the pascal lamb. The balance of Mark, when divided into weekly portions deals with the same issues as the weekly Torah readings do. Yet Mark, which was anti Jewish, presents Jesus as a perfectly normal man with a family including brothers and sisters.

Matthew, which was written next and was the most Jewish of the Gospels, covered the whole year and does likewise. For instance the Sermon on the Mount comes at Shavuoth, the time of the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. The same principal was discovered to apply to Luke which is the most gentile in outlook and John, which was the most anti-Jewish. Remember that the Christians were excommunicated from Judaism before Luke and John were written.

These later Gospels articulated the virgin birth and that Jesus was G-d incarnate. As a result, these Gospels did away with the family of Jesus, and the Jewishness and the existence of his Apostles, and the role of James. They were excommunicated so to speak. They went so far as to have Jesus reject his mother and brothers. They also whitewashed the Romans and condemned the Jews as Christ- killers.

Not only does Spong conclude that the subject matter coincides when overlaid as I have said, he also concludes that many of the characters in the New Testament are fashioned to be like Old Testament personalities both in name and in deed. The “signs and wonders” performed by G-d in the Old Testament are performed by Jesus in the New Testament. Moses is the prophet to whom God revealed himself, who gave the Law and who died in an unknown place. Maybe he didn’t die. Jesus likewise. The Promised Land of the Jews became the Kingdom of G-d promised to the Christians. One more example to make the point. Luke introduces Zecharia and Elizabeth as the parents of John the Baptist who baptized Jesus. He overtly portrayed them in the pattern of Abraham and Sarah. Both sets of parents were called righteous, both women were barren and advanced in age, both fathers were disbelieving of the possibility of theirs wives giving birth and both were told that nothing is impossible for G-d.

Nativity

The Nativity story demands close attention. In short, Jesus was born of a virgin in a manger in Bethlehem and was wrapped in swaddling clothes. Three wise men came riding on camels, bearing gifts of frankincense, gold and myrrh, to witness the birth and a star rose in the East. What are its antecedents? In Isaiah, “kings came to the light and to the brightness of G-d’s dawn, riding on camels and bringing gold and frankincense”. Isaiah also tells us that a messiah would be born in Bethlehem of a young woman. In Wisdom of Solomon, Solomon says, “I was nursed with care in swaddling clothes for no king has had a different beginning of existence.” Even the word “manger’ comes from Isaiah where it conveyed the meaning that the whole earth was a crib or bin where G-d fed his people. So Jesus was presented as sustenance from G-d. Finally there is no mention of camels in the New Testament, only in Isaiah so we conclude that the early Christians knew the source of the story and never forgot the camels. The Gospels were written in Greek and ‘young maiden’ was translated as a ‘virgin’ because the concept of young maiden and virgin are merged into one Greek word. The rest, as they say, is history.

Crucifixion

Among the details of the crucifixion given by the Gospel of John are that a Roman soldier pierced Jesus’ side with a spear and did not break his legs (whereas the other two robbers had their legs broken). You might think that these are innocuous details that are historically true. But no such thing. John relates them as fulfilling Jewish Scriptural passages namely Zachariah which refers to “being pierced” and Exodus which according to John, says “not a bone of him shall be broken”.

Of greater interest is the Exodus passage which, when referring to the Pascal Lamb, laid down that the meat thereof “shall not be carried out of the house, nor shall a bone of it be broken”. Thus John is implying that Jesus is the pascal lamb whose bones (legs) were not broken. Or in other words, that Jesus is the new Passover meal – that is, Paul’s “communion” with the body and blood of Christ Jesus. This passage further provides when referring to the Passover meal, that “No uncircumcised person may take part.”. Nothing could be further from the spirit of Christianity; in fact the opposite of it. This is another example of how the Gospels have used scriptures for their own purposes in a way that totally distorts or inverts their original meaning. In contrast, Jerome, an early Christian historian, when telling of the stoning of James, makes the point of his legs “being broken” from the fall from the Pinnacle of the Temple.

That leaves only the message. Jesus was shown to be cosmopolitan, accommodationist, universalistic and pacifistic. This was in keeping with the Pauline attempts to have the movement all inclusive and acceptable to Rome. As I have shown, scholars believe that this was the mirror opposite of what Jesus would have stood for. To the extent that Jesus is presented as teaching a concern for the weak and the poor and the giving of charity, this was mainstream Judaism at the time. When Jesus talked of the golden rule, he was merely following Rabbi Hillel. The Gospels, in part, presented Jesus as being against the Law but in real life he would have followed the Law to the last letter.

References to James in the Dead Sea Scrolls include “not being a regarder of persons”, “Holy from his mother’s womb”, and “standing on the pinnacle of the Temple”. These and many others including the James’ Sanhedrin trial are retrospectively inserted and sometimes reversed into the pro-Roman, anti-Jewish biography of Jesus. One account of the stoning of James, reports that he said on dying “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” . Astonishingly these words too, are later attributed in the Gospels to Jesus. The destruction of the Temple which Christians attribute to the “killing of Jesus by the Jews” some 40 years earlier, really came about as a result of the killing of James.

I have only scratched the surface of the scholarship presented by Eisenman and Spong. Hardly a detail goes unnoticed.

Josephus in the Preface to the “Jewish Wars” writes:

  1. “The War of the Jews against the Romans was the greatest of our time, greater too perhaps, than any recorded struggle whether between cities or nations. Yet persons with no first hand knowledge accepting baseless and inconsistent stories on hearsay, have written garbled accounts of it; while those of eyewitnesses have been falsified either to flatter the Romans or to vilify the Jews, eulogy or abuse being submitted for accurate historical record.”

In conclusion it may be safely said that all we know of the real Jesus was that he was crucified and had many siblings including James. Most incidents of his life and death and most teachings attributed to him as set out in the New Testament, either come from symbols from the Old Testament, facts about the life and death of James or the desire to produce an inclusive theology acceptable to gentiles or an historical record acceptable to the Romans.

I leave you with one final thought, Messianism is a nationalistic ideology. To be anti-nationalist messianists as the Christians fashioned themselves to be is a contradiction in terms..

CHRONOLOGY OF EVENTS
325 Christianity became the state religion of the Holy Roman Empire
132 Second Jewish Revolt (Bar Kochba)(132-136)
110* Gospel of John
100* Acts of the Apostles
96 Death of Josephus
92* Gospel of Luke
90* Antiquities written by Josephus
85* Christians excommunicated from the Jewish religion
80 Judaism declared certain practices of Christians as “Anathemas”
75* Jewish Wars written by Josephus
77* Gospel of Mathew
73 Fall of Masada
72* Gospel of Mark
70 Destruction of Temple
69* Death of Paul
66 Final Uprising against Rome (66-70)
62 Death of James
55* Epistles of Paul
33* James becomes Head of Jerusalem Assembly (33-62)
32* Crucifixtion of Jesus
06* Birth of Jesus
000 ————————————————————————————————-
20* Herod killed last of Maccabee priestly line and appoints his own High Priest
37 Herod appointed King of Palestine by Rome (37-4 BCE)
63 Romans conquered Palestine
100* Alexander Jannaeus grand nephew of Judas Maccabee defeats Seleucids
120* Maccabees 1 and Maccabees 2 written
130* Book of Daniel written
137 Chunukah
167 Start of Maccabee Revolt
333 Occupation of Palestine by the Greeks
440* Second Temple built by Ezra and Nehemiah
540 Return from Babylonian exile
586 Destruction of First Temple and exile to Babylon
1000 Solomon completed First Temple

* Denotes approximate date.

May 7, 2021 | 171 Comments »

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  1. @ Edgar G.:

    I see that my post was repeated 3 times have no idea why. Aploogies. Maybe it sees your recalcitrant nature and feels you need solid persuasion…. ???

  2. @ Michael S:

    You have a very bad habit of “reading my mind”, and ALWAYS getting the wrong answers. I did not indicate thay they are fictitious. And the Edict of \milan only allowed Christisanity…And the Counclil of Nicea did not create Christians. You are going a little “off” here, I don’t know why…are you feeling O.K.. hope so.

    it’s quite simple,. You implied that Trypho was arguing to persuade Justin, and i suggested that it should be turned around as it’s well known that Justin Martyr was exhorting Trypho, since Justin was a New convert,a d they are always the worst, then most vehement.

    As it happens I read up on it quite some years ago and all, I mean all, the expert historians and scholars were unanimous in stating that It was all fiction, that Justin used a well known Greek ploy to bolster his argument by invented Trypho and then exhorted him as part of the story he wrote.. So make whatever you want of that…..

  3. @ Michael S:

    You have a very bad habit of “reading my mind”, and ALWAYS getting the wrong answers. I did not indicate thay they are fictitious. \\And the Vouclil of Nicea did not create Christians. You are going a little “off” here, I don’t know why…are yoy feeling O.K.. hope so.

    it’s quite simple,. You implied that Trypho was arguing to persuade Justin, and i suggested that it should be turned around as it’s well known that Justin Martyr was exhorting Trypho, since Justin was a New convert,a d they are always the worst, then most vehement.

    As it happens I read up on it quite some years ago and all, I mean all, the expert historians and scholars were unanimous in stating that It was all fiction, that Justin used a well known Greek ploy to bolster his argument by invented Trypho and then exhorted him as part of the story he wrote.. So make whatever you want of that…..

  4. @ Michael S:

    You have a very bad habit of “reading my mind”, and ALWAYS getting the wrong answers. I did not indicate that they are fictitious-even though one is. And the Edict of Constantine only allowed Christianity it didn’t create it. And the Counclil of Nicea did not create Christians. You are going a little “off” here, I don’t know why…are you feeling O.K.. hope so.

    it’s quite simple,. You implied that Trypho was arguing to persuade Justin, and i suggested that it should be turned around as it’s well known that Justin Martyr was exhorting Trypho, since Justin was a New convert,a d they are always the worst, then most vehement.

    As it happens I read up on it quite some years ago and all, I mean all, the expert historians and scholars were unanimous in stating that It was all fiction, that Justin used a well known Greek ploy to bolster his argument by invented Trypho and then exhorted him as part of the story he wrote.. So make whatever you want of that.

  5. @ Edgar G.:
    Edgar,

    You implied that you don’t believe Justin Martyr and Trypho existed, since they lived 200 years BEFORE the Edict of Constantine — far too early for them to have been “Christians”.

    Christians read Isaiah as much as Jews do — He’s as “Christian” as Jesus, since he’s part of our scriptural heritage. Why not quote a treatise from the Talmud, describing the diameter of the earth. Even the pagan Helenists were able to do that: How could you brilliant Jews have missed it? Are you trying to say that the Jews discovered that the eartth was spherical? The next thing you know, you’ll be claiming they gave us the laws of physics. You’re using this, to prove that Jesus never existed? Go away and come back again. Your posts are starting to smell like red herrings.

  6. @ Edgar G.:
    Edgar, I’m not your “lad”, so far as I know. My father died 50 years ago, and you’re not him.

    I don’t see anything in your “lad” post worth commenting on. I’ll try the next one…

  7. I NEVER brought up MOSES…YOU did. And I didn’t know I was “attacking your faith”. I was getting a little doubtful but didn’t like to ask you if you were a “Messianic “Jew” or some such rubbish because you might have been offended. You know so much about the Torah, although you twist it when it suits you so I was was kept confused about you.

    I’m seeing all sorts of crap in your post, for instance, what makes you think I’m basing my existence on a person of which no evidence has been found.. I suppose you mean MOSES. You are now making really unfounded accusations, and sound a bit speciously wonky.

    My “method of criticism” as you call it, is purely OPINION, based on reading, and common sense. I already mentioned FACT, but no harm to mention it again. You keep going off the subject and getting personal…tut tut… Sounding more and more like those Mormon door-knockers who slide off the subject when they can’t answer my question. I upset their prepared rigamarole.

    I’m not asking any more, for facts about Jesus because there are none. Caiphas only comes into the scene because he was one of very many in the line of high Priests appointed by Herod, who was seriously changeable… Against Tradition as they weren’t in straight line from Zadok anyway. I don’t recall anyone called Tiberias. There is a city of that name, and a Roman emperor who succeeded Octavian Caesar named Tiberius, so maybe it’s one of them . I have a copy of Seutonius and he tells me all I want to know about Tiberius, nothing about Tiberias however. Let it lay in limbo, I don’t even want to know which you mean. It’s another of your “red herrings”.

    James, Jude and Peter.. great witnesses, what did they write, and where are their original documents. According to the Gospels, which, believe it or not, I have read thoroughly, it shows they didn’t believe “in” ‘im at all. Peter ran away and hid denying he ever knew him, . James and Jude, with the rest of the family thought he was crazy. Look how he treated his poor mother for gosh sake. And of course, except for the Gospels accounts there is absolutely no evidence of any kind, even a chicken bone they gnawed of at a “Paschal” feast, that they ever existed outside the minds of the unknown Gospel writers, editors, forgers, and other pious frauds who thought it no crime to “lie for the sake of Christ”…Just like the Muslim Takhiya…

    {Here I say to you, and to all reading this. If you want to see something about VERY brave and outspoken Jews, read the Nizzahon Vetus, compiled and translated by Rabbi David Berger of which I have a copy. Plain speaking galore. In a very dangerous age}..

    Maybe Joshua couldn’t even write. Writing was only done then by specially trained SCRIBES. Even the pharaohs couldn’t write. The Chumosh, supposedly written in the lifetime of Moses, has parts which plainly could not have been written by him, assuming he could write. “Joshua” is just your guess because he succeeded Moses.

    When you say “Trypho to Justin Martyr” I think it should be “Justin Martyr to Trypho”, because as was always the case, the insecure Christians would badger the Jews with their unbelievable nonsense. You should read about Celsus. Although we only heard about him from Eusebius the “Bishop” the early Church “historian” who forged the Testimonium Flavianum. according to all reputable scholars. Eusebius was the first to have ever mentioned it in his “copy” of Josephus… unbelievable considering all the fervent Christian theologians who went before and never saw it. But this was the common place occupation of such people, to try to prove their fantasies..

    Well I’ll finish here and hope you don’t get hair down the back of your neck. I always did, no matter how tight the drape around my neck. So quick back home and a good shower. is the thing. I think I’ll continue with your other post tomorrow. I’m tired of it and want to read something else.

    *************************************************************************************************

    Isaiah 40.22 speaks of the circle of the earth. I knew I’d seen somewhere that the earth hung suspended in the dome of the heavens, but 40.22 pins it down. Whatever belief came in afterwards, I’m not qualified to say, but ignorance seeps into Judaism from the surrounding peoples from time to time. Anyway, those who watched a ship go over the horizon, and people ON a ship seeing other ships go over the horizon knew that the earth was circular, but were scared stiff of the Church, which would burn them at the stake for saying this.

    As for the New Testament I don’t recall talking about “faulty witnesses”. But of course I’m getting old and you could tell me that I said all sorts of things that I actually didn’t… I just said there is NO evidence of any kind, and that Josephus, Philo and many contemporary others who wrote extensively of that period and had been all over the country, or knew about the geostrata, and never heard of Jesus or Yeshu. The Talmudists refer to a few persons of that name, not your guy but an Egyptian magician, and someone hundreds of years before who had been executed.

    So why should you say I was using a “faulty argument” ..I used NO argument , I just stated a fact, it’s not open to argument at all.

    As for your question, I DO believe in Torah..to a certain extent, because it has a perfect compendium of methods where a person can live a decent, proper life. (provide there are no Anti-semites around). So'”flakey”, (a word I’ve never heard before, but please don’t send me a megilla explaining it, I’m sure it’s pejorative) I am not.

    For free, I’ll tell you that there are certain things I don’t believe, which are clearly mythical, also some are allegorical, and I take them that way. Like the early story about the creation of the world for instance. I am a modern person, and understand the Solar system and also, to a certain modest extent, the Galactic expansion etc. I’m not a fool. I understand that as knowledge increases, previous cast in stone facts may shatter.(and please don’t bring the Torah into this . I don’t mean the Torah)

    But the large majority of the Torah is immutable. That is my belief. It has stood the test of thousands of violent and dangerous years. Every day some archaeological discovery proves it’s authenticity. But nothing has been found about your Yeshua, even though all that period has been extensively documented and much of it existing today.

  8. @ Michael S:

    I see you’re getting into the “nitty-gritty- of irrelevance, but I’ll get into it with you, You dazzle me so much with words that I have to take your lengthy epistles (Ah you should have been there instead of the mythical Paul) a bit at a time, to savour and then digest-if I can-.. So…where do we start…?

    Your comment about “observation” doesn’t need observation, just average tactile sense. If your quoted rabbi was that unobservant, he was certainly was not one of the Rabbis. Maybe a prepubscent student who accidentally was quoted as a joke by one of his teachers..

    If the rabbi was “esteemed” what was his name…maybe he was blind from birth…??

    I’m ending this post temporarily because I see you have one just above this to which I should respond first.

  9. @ Michael S:

    Hey Hey Hey Michael me lad, you are parring off Yamit 2’s pertinent comment onto my back, by saying that you “wrote” tome about contemporary commentators. Weeelll that’s very sophistic and specious in nature-made out of whole cloth as the saying goes-.. because although you DID, “write”….you never mentioned the name of even a SINGLE “contemporary commentator”, nor any guaranteed authentic document where the evidence is…..

    That sounds a bit too squirmy for you Michael, and I thought we were having a nice, give and take conversation. Not Cricket as they say.

    Also, you say “I rise and lay down trusting in Yeshua but I have never believed him to be G-D”. Well then, that whole sentence means exactly nothing. What was the point in writing it. I think you’re falling apart a little from the pressure of sustaining an impossible and fantastic belief. If you don’t believ in Yeshua..lets use the real name “Yehoshua”…as a god what are you driving at… a cement wall at 100m.p.h.

  10. @ yamit82:
    Hi, Yamit

    I see a lull in your comments, so I’ll respond now.

    “2000 years ago there were many writers and contemporary-commentators (historians). None wrote of your man-god”

    I just wrote to Edgar about the “contemporary commentators” business, so I don’t need to repeat it for you. I don’t have a “man-god”, by the way. Who on earth could you be talking about?

    “It doesn’t matter in Judaism whether there was a real Moses it’s the message that counts…”

    My sentiments exactly, and ditto for Christianity; but you said,

    “christianity rises or falls on the deification of yeshu.”

    Oh? I rise and lay down every day, trusting in Yeshuah; yet I have never believed him to be God. You must only know very wobbly Christians. You went on to say,

    “Your sophistic arguments and comparisons are childish.”

    Sophistic? You’re attacking my arguments ad hominem, by calling me childish. I’ll leave it at that.

  11. @ Edgar G.:
    Hello again, Edgar. The car’s on the fritz, so no haircut. Speaking of hair, you said,

    “And I don’t want to get into womens’ pubic hair..I was too well brought up against prurience……

    “That the “Gospels should not be blamed for the misled Christians” segues directly into whether the Gospels should be blamed for the vicious irrational Anti-Semitism we’ve suffered ever since Christianity became ascendant… Wadda yah tink Mike…?”

    These things go together like a horse and carriage, Edgar — you can’t have one without the other. My comment about the pubic hair was the answer to what you’re asking (telling?) about my supposedly benighted fellow Christians. It’s about observation.

    “The Gemara continues:

    “Rava taught that “va’Yetzei Lach Shem ba’Goyim b’Yafyech” (Jewish women are know for their beauty) – Jewish women do not have hair in the underarms or pubic hair! Tamar was the daughter of a Yafes To’ar. (and therefore was not born Jewish)”

    http://ajewwithquestions.blogspot.com/2017/08/

    For centuries, yea, millenia, Christians (and Jews, I might add) believed the world was flat. You counted that as showing how ignorant Christians were. To their defense, I say that it is not easy to OBSERVE that the earth is indeed spherical; and we didn’t know for sure, until Magellan’s ship circumnavigated it. A woman’s pubic hairs, on the other hand, should be rather easily observed by any married rabbi; yet the very esteemed rabbi quoted above in Sanhedrin 21a had never seen them. That is VERY poor observation. I would therefore give my erstwhile Christian and Jewish flat-earthers a pass, when compared to the great rabbis.

    “whether the Gospels should be blamed for the vicious irrational Anti-Semitism we’ve suffered ever since Christianity became ascendant… Wadda yah tink Mike…?””

    You ought to know the answer to that very well: I think you’re being absurd. You seem to be an expert in the gospels. Tell me, where does the gospel implore Jesus’ followers to viciously attack Jews? Getting beyond the obvious facts that Jesus and ALL his disciples were Jewish, you might have noticed that Jesus forbade them to viciously atttack anyone.

    So, what’s your beef? You said,

    “What religious leaders persecuted Moses..? Do tell…don’t keep it to yourself.”

    I believe Pharaoh was considered to be the incarnation of a god. Would you call that a “religious leader”? He pursued Moses with his army, but God intervened by drowning him in the sea. Also, concerning the other Pharaoh, likewise revered as a god, who ordered Moses and all other Israelite male children to be killed. Does that count as “persecution”?

    Here’s a real whopper from you, Edgar:

    “About Socrates, etc. There is evidence from Plato and his other students who are KNOWN to have lived, that Socrates was their teacher. And they themselves existed as evidenced by statues, inscriptions and the written evidence of known contemporaries, as well by their works.”

    I’d be interested to know what inscriptions were written about Plato by his “contemporaries”; but for James, who knew Jesus as Plato knew Socrates (more intimately, in fact — he was his brother), we have Josephus as a witness — as you yourself have said; and I seriously doubt that statues of Aristotle were fashioned while he was yet alive. Socrates lived, so it is said, 470-399 BC; Plato 437-347; Aristotle 384-322.

    Sculptors of the time were Myron, Phidias, Polyclitus, Praxiteles, Scopas and Lysippus, I just did a brief survey of their works; and it is as I suspected: no statue or bust of the three great sages was among them. Lysippus did a bust of his contemporary Alexander the Great, but not of his other contemporary, Aristotle.

    Are you using the shotgun approach on me, throwing out a myriad of pieces of information, hoping one will stick? So far, you haven’t succeeded; but it’s beyond me, why you should want to shoot down Jesus. I believe in Moses, Samuel, Ezra, the whole nine yards. I even believe Joseph Smith existed, and dictated his heretical works; because a cousin of mine took down his dictation and wrote one of his books. I also see no reason to doubt the existence of the Buddha, of Lao Tsu nor any other great religious leader. Yet you have two billion people living by the words of Jesus, and you say he never existed. Amazing!

    By the way, I also believe Socrates, Plato and Aristotle existed. I just don’t demand proof, nor do I think it’s necessary to read what they said. My favorite author was George Orwell, who didn’t even use his real name.

    Shalom shalom 🙂

  12. @ Edgar G.:
    Hi, Edgar.

    “Michael dear…”

    Hmmm… Yes, Edgar, dear 🙂

    “…the article is NOT about Moses…”

    Ted’s article isn’t, but your comments certainly are. I brought up Moses, because you have been iinsinuating that the New Testament should not be believed because of a lack of “neutral” witnesses. You have used a faulty argument to attack my faith; so I used the same argument to attack yours — to see if the shoe fit, so to speak. Don’t try to weasel out of that.

    Do you believe in Torah, or don’t you? If not, then your identity as a Jew is REALLY flaky. But if so, they you are basing your identity on a person of whom independently-verified history provides NO evidence of his existence.

    Am I saying this because I somehow doubt Moses’ existence? Of course not! I believe he existed; and I believe everything the Bible says about him. What I take issue with, is your method of criticism, which frankly stinks.

    The bottom line is, that neither you nor I need to know whether any of these people existed. Obviously, SOMEBODY existed that wrote the Old Testament; and ditto for the New Testament. You and I may have some differences about what was actually said and meant in those writings, hence my faith in them and your lack of faith in them.

    I really can’t grasp where you’re coming from; but frankly, it seems foolish to me to discuss the “facts” of Jesus’ biography when you don’t believe any of them. This is EXACTLY the same as talking about the “facts” of Moses, when you don’t believe in him — and I have to think you must believe SOMETHING about him.

    Who will give you the facts about Jesus? Caiphas? Will he give you an impartial account? How about Herod, Pilate or Tiberias? Or some nameless Pharisee? Do you take everyone for fools? The only ones who would have said anything factual about Jesus would have been those who knew him — James, Jude, Peter, etc. They are, in fact, the ones testifying about him; and they agree with one another’s testimony.

    Compare this with Moses. Who wrote about Moses? Traditionalists say it was Moses himself, and later Samuel; but nobody’s testimony about himself can be taken at face value; and Samuel lived long after Moses died. My opinion, for what it’s worth, is that Joshua wrote the books of Moses; because he’s the only one who was with Moses at critical moments, and also able to transmit the information.

    Between you and Yamit, I see that there is much comment here. I’ll get to it later. I feel like Trypho to Justin Martyr — so much to answer to, but so little space to answer. I’m going for a haircut. Back in a bit.

    Shalom shalom 🙂

  13. @ yamit82:

    Yes I recall. I looked her up wanting to see what new item she had come out with and saw the news. Sad. A brilliant mind, sharp as a tack. Could write effortlessly.

  14. TED… I just had a thought, I may have missed it but I don’t recall that in your lengthy essay, you mentioned the “G-D Fearers (or Lovers) who were in the very many thousands all over the Empire, and thronged into the synagogues around that time, some, becoming very learned and converted. They were a huge influence on the later spread of Christianity, after having been caught by the enthusiasts of the Christ-Saviour-G-D concept.

    As you know, they brought the 7 Noachide Commandments into prominence (or maybe even into being), being instrumental in having the Rabonim ponder on what to do with them as they were not Jews….but also were not Pagans…..

  15. @ Michael S:

    It just struck me now about your comment that the Revered Rabbis believed women had no pubic hair. What do you suggest Michael, does it sound true to you, or a piece of Christian fakery. ALL, virtually, of the Rabbis were married, many with very large families, and would know as much about female pubic hair as any married man.

    I didn’t think of this at the time I responded. Probably the answer was too simple for me to see. So if you want to raise counter objections to my asseverations, use common sense. Think before you look, I mean leap.

  16. @ Michael S:
    2000 years ago there were many writers and contemporary-commentators (historians). None wrote of your man-god Not a one. In 1300 BCE you will need to check any archeological evidence and the Hebrew bible. Since most people accept the Hebrew bible whether true and accurate? It was never meant to be historically correct but a form or method of teaching the messages within the texts. It doesn’t matter in Judaism whether there was a real Moses it’s the message that counts and we don’t revere Moses as a demigod or deity. christianity rises or falls on the deification of yeshu. Your sophistic arguments and comparisons are childish.

  17. @ Edgar G.:

    Which reminds me, that I have a small book, I forget the name of the author, written for young Jews to deal with door-knocking Missionaries and so-called Christian “Jews”. It’s named, I think…

    “40 Multiplied by Zero, still equals Zero’. or 0 X 40= 0.. Something like that. I was reminded of it by your post.

  18. @ yamit82:

    Yamit, You’ve said it all, right to the point, in remarkably few sentences. I myself am inclined to get into historical details and slide off at a tangent, related it’s true, but need to watch myself closer from now on. Often when dealing with a “serious’ subject, I get a bit fed up and interject a facetious item, as I always have lots on tap.

  19. @ yamit82:

    Well, she was criticized by many scholars as a mythicist, with no background in religious studies, but was supported also by many scholars who saw valid points in her positions. Robert Price, of the Jesus Seminar told he that he’d opposed and criticised her work for years, but later came to appreciate that she had definite, good ideas and valid arguments, and so, rescinded his criticism..

    I thought she was very open and persuasive, although sometimes a bit far out, but a good read always. She would hit on a bit of nitty-gritty and worry it out until it could be seen that it had to have been a, bit of fakery that no ne had spotted before. She had voluminous detail and quoted from established authorities.

  20. @ Michael S:

    It has been said that the christianity cult is “a lie built on a mountain of deceptions”. There are so many interwoven lies in the fabric of the cult’s teachings that it’s hard to know where to begin, but ultimately they can all be traced back the book that christians call the “holy bible” (even though there is little about it that can be called “holy” without some risk of terminological inexactitude).

    The christianity cult first appeared in the early part of the 4th century CE. That remark may well raise some eyebrows, because it differs markedly from what you have almost certainly always believed to be the case. All the history books say the earliest christians were 1st century Hebrews, don’t they? Well they would say that, though: this is what the churches want everyone to think. And never forget, the churches controlled all publishing and printing for centuries: even into the early 20th century in some countries. But, like so much else about christianity, it just ain’t true.

    There is no historical evidence that yeshu ever existed…. We Jews have done ourselves a great injustice by accepting the christian false historical narrative instead of putting the matter where it belongs in the trash along with other ancient historical mythological characters and myths.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UdrVvcvvY34&t=18s

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0wYL5-VqBU

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jd7ye6-gbYs

  21. @ Michael S:

    Michael, no 27 bases, and never played baseball. It’s just the natural flow of historical periods and events (or lack of them) that means you never end up where you began. As for the 35-6 date, I was only using these actual historical facts. to show that, assuming such a person ever lived, Ted’s and the standard dates were wrong.

    John Baptizer was a fact, he is mentioned in Josephus. He was a very famous man of his time, and was around long before he first came on the historical scene in year 6 (in Josephus) appearing at the Jordan banks.

    Are you aware that there was a group who separated themselves from the Christians, and followed “The Baptiser John”, which was not at all like the Jesus belief.They were named Mandeans, and they still exist, living along the banks of the Euphrates.

    European Society as you call it, was founded around the men who could wield the strongest battle axes, and hold their serfs and castles, and extract the most blackmail/tribute/toll fee…. from the passing travellers. It was a swirling sea of madness for hundreds of years, and I’m using just common-sense here. If you use yours you’ll agree with me. During this time the Christians were struggling for recognition, and eventually pre-eminence. It was a VASTLY superstitious age which helped them considerably. You could have the situation where a fat, dirty, illiterate friar or monk, who could mutter off a few prayers or other nonsense that nobody understood, but could sell himself as being the only barrier between the Great Ones and the coals of Hell.

    I suppose you know that Europe, with it’s “settled society” only finally became Christianised around the 12th-13th century. There are very amusing 11th-12th cent. authentic accounts of a variety of viking chiefs, who converted over and over, and would complain that the gift they got from the monk this time was not as good as the one they got the last time, or from the other fellow.

    I could talk about “Indulgences:, or “Alexander 6th Borgia and his 6-7 children plus mistresses”, not uncommon right through the ascendancy of Popedom, until Martin Luther, Calvin and Elizabeth Tudor put it in it’s place. Religion had become political long centuries before this, once they realised their power. They produced some, a comparative few genuine faithful like, say, Bernard of Clairvaux, and maybe Jerome who jumped into the thorn bushes, Bernard who did the same and Francis of Assisi who needed to jump into frozen rivers, all the time…presumably shouting…”get thee behind me Satan”..to shoo away their past very spotted lives…

    Christianity was full of lunatics who knew little but shouted much, and vice versa….After all to make a lot of SOMETHING out of practically NOTHING takes centuries of cunning and guile, of which the Early Church Fathers and their successors had plenty… Did you ever wonder how Simon, could perch on his 30 foot pole for 30 years, no bathroom, no toilet paper, no food, no bed no …. And because of that, was appointed a “saint”….

    There has been so much nonsense that runs from one thing to the other that I could spend a lifetime detailing it. Why bother, This after all, is only a friendly blog, where we express our opinions…and you know mine, as I know yours.

  22. Michael dear, I’m not “insinuating, I’m saying. And the article is NOT about Moses. When one comes along I’ll have my say there. “Mose”(s)
    (Mosh) is the last part of many Egyptian names so there is a definite Egyptian connection, even if the narrative is muddled… .

    And I don’t want to get into womens’ pubic hair..I was too well brought up against prurience……

    That the “Gospels should not be blamed for the misled Christians” segues directly into whether the Gospels should be blamed for the vicious irrational Anti-Semitism we’ve suffered ever since Christianity became ascendant… Wadda yah tink Mike…?

    What religious leaders persecuted Moses..? Do tell…don’t keep it to yourself. Well I HAVE heard that they sniggered at his snaky staff because the spring ran down, and the winder broke, and laughed at his uncouth garments…..But they were courtiers not “religious leaders”. Assuming the Torah descriptions are correct, which is not a given.

    There is NO evidence about the existence of Jesus by contemporaries ..CONTEMPORARIES…who….? And don’t give me the faked sophistry written by Christian forgers. Or the supposed John as a very old (about 95) man saying he’d heard it from his teacher or something. (There were several Johns in the story, a very common name and nobody knows who was whom.) For hundreds and hundreds of years they hardly wrote or spoke a truthful word. Everything was slanted almost horizontal, to make Christianity look good and Judaism bad.
    A psychiatrist would immediately see that the result should be reversed.

    About Socrates, etc. There is evidence from Plato and his other students who are KNOWN to have lived, that Socrates was their teacher. And they themselves existed as evidenced by statues, inscriptions and the written evidence of known contemporaries, as well by their works.

    Take the example of Christian testimony that Constantine was a Christian…… He actually lived and died a PAGAN. Do you know what they base their lying testimony on……. I’ll tell you and this is documented and fact.

    Constantine presided over the Council of Nicea, at which the large variety of Christian sects were brought together to make one rule for all. And in the quiet, and saintly conference, 2 “bishops” were stabbed to death and sundry others badly wounded. It was not completely successful since the Arians, Nestorians, Docetists and others went their own way. But he allowed Christianity to be a legal, accepted religion, and he made use of some of the deacons and bishops in his Civil Service, because of their efficiency.

    When Constantine was on his death bed, a monk crept into the room with the witnesses, always present when a King or Emperor was dying. . He sat by Constantine’s ear and tried to get him to accept Christianity. But Constantine had already been in a coma for nearly 48 hours before final death, and the cunning little fella swore that the Emperor converted with his very last breath.

    When asked how it happened since he was such a resolute, life-long pagan, he said that “his eyelid quivered so I knew he was trying to say yes…”. That’s how Constantine “became” a Christian Emperor. As you know Christianity became the religion of the Empire only about 45 years later, in 380 under Emperor Theodosius..

    What difference does it make that Newton was a devout Christian.. (Gandiji was a devout Buddhist.). Does that make it “Christian Calculus” . He was reputed to be a homo, and had a very bad nervous breakdown, reportedly because he was “accused of being with a woman”.

    The subject Is “The Historical Jesus”: which incidentally is the title used by many scholarly writers which I’ve read. Not the Historical Newton, or Moses or Plato or “Uncle Tom Cobbely and all”… I say there was no such person and you say there was. Very few scholars and antiquarian historians, except devoted Christians, believe that there was such a person. The supposed Paul, know absolutely nothing about him, and he was supposed to have lived right at that time. Of course most of Pauls “Letters” are known forgeries. Philo, many works of which are extant, and wrote on everything, never heard of him, neither did Josephus. There isn’t a single contemporary whose works are either extant or have been quoted by others. who had ever heard of him. ZERO. Sorry… We can agree to differ.

  23. @ Edgar G.:
    Hi, Edgar. You said,

    “I sense………you are just being facetious……making fun of me…. O.K. Michael I don’t mind, I’m used to it.”

    No, I am not making fun of you. You said some outlandish things, and I have responded to them. Your “history” is indeed revisionist, and is not based on honest scholarship. Consider your arguments.

    1. You seem to insinuate that Jesus, as described in the Bible, never existed. Fair enough. What about Moses? Where are the “neutral” historians to verify his existence? He is not even mentioned in independent, “neutral” Egyptian documents or monuments. Do you claim that Torah is false, because of it? How about Socrates, Aristotle and Plato, those pillars of Greek civilization. There is more evidence (testimonies by contemporaries) that Jesus lived when and where he did, died the way he did, and rose from the dead, than there is that Socrates ever existed. The only “evidence” of the latter is the testimony of Aristotle and Plato, his disciples, recorded in texts that survive only in recent manuscripts. Will you thus dismiss the Greek classics as irrelevant?

    2. Jews claim that the “evidence” of Moses’ existence, is the Jewish people. Are you willing to say that the evidence of Jesus’ existence is the Christian people? I am not being facetious, just calling for fairness.

    3. You ridiculed “Christians” because some of them believed, as they were taught by their kings and bishops, that the world is flat. I have also read that the revered Rabbis of tradition believed that Jewish women do not have pubic hair. The rabbis were not correctly citing Torah, and neither can the New Testament be blamed for those misled Christians.

    Galileo was indeed persecuted by the religious leaders of his time. So was Jesus. So was Moses. So was Socrates. Isaac Newton, the man who gave us the laws of physics and calculus, was a devout Christian. As you said, let’s “call a spade a spade”.

  24. @ Michael S:

    Most of those you mention believed the world was FLAT, which is similar to you believing that my post was revisionist. It was merely factual, and the product of much scholarship and investigation over hundreds of years., After all even Galileo was forced into saying the world didn’t revolve around the Sun, which didn’t make it true.. We live in different times today, where we can call “a spade a spade”.

    Elvis, whom I in NO way cared for, doesn’t come into it. I didn’t even care for the Beatles, although the Epsteins were my first cousins by marriage. I just was a dirty dog, I had no loyalty……..

    When I think “Elvis” which is maybe once in 5-10 years, I think “The Ring Of Elvis”…. which is NOT connected to jewellery of any kind but more to the earlier article about Turkeys…….and that’s as it should be.

    I sense………you are just being facetious……making fun of me…. O.K. Michael I don’t mind, I’m used to it.

  25. @ Edgar G.:
    HI, Edgar.

    I’ve just read your — what can I call it? — historical revisionism. You are saying that nearly 2,000 years of historians are wrong, but you are right. Fair enough.

    Let’s assume that the writers of the gospels were really aliens, who landed at St. Catherine’s Monastery in Sinai, say, 300 AD, led by a pre-incarnate Elvis Presley. Does it matter? What is written is what is written; this is what I believe, what Sir Isaac Newton believed, what Sir Francis Bacon believed, what a whole slew of popes, etc. believed, all the way back to Elvis himself. I don’t believe in Elvis, nor in the popes, nor in Isaac Newton; I believe in what is written. I believe that’s what Ted meant, when he said “It’s the message that matters”.

    PS. Yes, I know Elvis was Jewish, to those who count the maternal thing; to others, he was not. It’s irrelevant.

  26. @ Edgar G.:
    Hi Edgar.

    I thought I’d wait until I’d seen the last of your posts before responding. It seems you’re trying to cover about 27 bases, on a baseball diamond that only has four (counting home plate). I was looking for some sort of conclusion; and I assume it is this:

    “it was the “Historical” Jesus who died in 35=6 (sic)”

    In other words, you seem to be saying that the Jesus of the Bible (the “historical” one) existed. Let’s just leave it at that. Since European society was formed largely around the assumption that he did live, that is a reasonable assumption. Any belief that contradicts this, falls under the category of a MASSIVE conspiracy theory — one so big, that if you believe it, you would be insane not to also reject the existence of Moses and Aristotle.

    I believe Jesus existed, in the time frame you mention: a real person, and a real Jew. He was not a Christian. He did not go to church; he went to synagogue. He said a bunch of things that made the religious leaders madder than hell, and they killed him. That is very reasonable to me, because religious people today (notably Muslims) are also incensed against Christians and killing them. Do you think that’s a fair assumption?

    Concerning this Jesus, he did not have any trouble convincing people that he existed: He was standing right in front of them, both feet on the ground, talking to them. What they had trouble with, was the things he SAID, and whether or not he had the authority to say those things. As Ted said, it’s the MESSAGE that matters; and that message was written down and has remained essentially unchanged for nearly two millennia.

    I notice that you also posted in response to my post to Ted. I’ll close this now, and read it.

    Shalom shalom 🙂

  27. @ Michael S:

    Sorry for butting in Michael, but you’re using the conventional Gospel accounts (which differ madly but become reconciled in Christian minds…??) by unknown writers, editors and fantasists at a time unknown -except by guesses at internal evidence, not at all an exact science….. Like dating Mark to year 70, because it was definitely written after the War, which ended then.

    I take issue with this because the country for many years after, was ravaged by abortive rebellions, totally destroyed, with homeless and hunted scurrying around everywhere trying to evade the Romans or just stay alive.. Not a proper atmosphere for writing such serious cerebral stuff. So we have to imagine Jesus and the 12 Apostles walking around safely with saintly halos through all this debris of a country.

    {(The very noticeable ignorance of Judaean Demographics and Jewish Customs and Laws, dates etc, all make it plain that they were written at a far later time, in other countries, by people who knew a bit gleaned from the Torah…or maybe from G-D fearers….)

    Neutral experts say that none of the writers was a Jew, and they were not written in Judaea, (which included Samaria and Idumaea) but elsewhere, like Greece and Egypt. Justin Martyr, writing about 150-60 was the first to mention possibly like some quotations from Gospels, but could just as easily have been sayings handed down we have no record of. There being 4 Gospels was first said around 180 by “Bishop” Irenaeus. So we can assume that they all made their first appearances between about 160 and 200.

    So when they were written, is unknown, considering the massive “forgery for the Faith”, common to all Christian writers, some more skilled than others, The Testimonium Flavianum is an example….Many learned scholars will give widely differing dates for the same Gospel.

    I often think of that comment about “how many angels could dance on the head of a pin.” in connection with dating and origin of the Gospels.

  28. And that Mayor Hardin’s chief advisor is Yohan Lee. And now, in re-reading the plot from the above cited Wikipedia article about the novel and the stories on which it was based, I find myself wondering if it didn’t inspire Israel’s long-term strategy of acquiring friends and influence in a hostile region through giving technological assistance. Does anybody know who first came up with that idea?

  29. I think Isaac Asimov’s “Foundation” was based on Johannen ben Zakai who in creating the organizational and ideological basis for post-Roman diaspora Judaism to survive as a community laid the foundations for the return 2 thousand years later. I first got the idea when I noticed that historian Heinrich Graetz referred to Johannen as R. Johannen. In the Robot series which Asimov merged with the Foundation series 20 years later, the hidden figure even behind Harry Seldon is the robot detective R. Daneel Olivaw.

    In Foundation, Hari Seldon proposes a community on a remote planet of the empire to preserve the knowledge of the empire through the compilation of an encyclopedia. Unbenownst to even the Foundationers, he has calculated that over the next thousand years, the objective forces that will be brought to bear on this community will turn the community itself into the new Empire. He wrote the story on which he based the series during WWII and said he got the idea from Gibbons Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foundation_(Asimov_novel)

    Besides Josephus, is Johannen another traitor of the rebellion to whom modern Israel owes a central debt?

  30. Hi, Ted. You said,

    “What counts then is the message and not the facts; or, what counts is not what happened, only what people think happened..”

    If Moses and Jesus were both alive today, parting the sea and walking on water, respectively, the mainstream media would fail to report it. Small wonder, then, that people today have trouble believing things that happened thousands of years ago.

    Yes, it’s the message that matters. Jesus told his accusers and his disciples alike, that they didn’t really know him. He identified with God’s word, as he understood it; and not as a human being. He certainly knew that his frame was human; and he had human weaknesses (otherwise, the Devil would not have tempted him); but he strove to be what he had understood God to be calling him to be — namely, the working out of God’s word in human flesh. When you think of it, this is what we all ought to be; but few of us would take it to the extreme of suffering the humiliation and torment of the cross because of it (Most of us would have tried to get a good lawyer).

    Concerning the disciples, the apostle Peter at one point tried to stop Jesus from going to Jerusalem, to certain death. Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Get behind me, Satan! For you savor the things of men, not the things of God”. That marked the contrast between the two men.

  31. @ Bear Klein:

    Don’t forget the bee-yooo-ti-fulll halos they all have. I think this is a long time pagan custom too.

    I can just imagine in medieval times the competitions for the “best” halos amongst the painters.

  32. @ Ted Belman:

    I don’t know if your post was indicating me, if so, thank you. From the Hasmonean period through the Roman, is fascinating.

    The Hashmonaim…….. here is a question I’d be very interested in answers……… No record of any person named Hashmon, the stated ancestor of the Maccabees. It’s at least open to question; and always puzzled me, but history is full of important gaps, through scribal neglect and records destruction.

    I found “hashmon” means “exalted person”, Seems to me that the “Exalted Person” must have been Matityahu himself, and there had never been a Hashmon family before him. He came from the 2nd course of Priests, with no Hashmons noted.

    The words of the beginning prayer..”Bemai Mathtyahu ben Yochanan Cohen Gadol Chashmonai uVonov …” “in the days of Matityahu son of Yochanan High Priest the Hasmonai and his sons ….”…

    Does this indicate that The High Priest was Yochanan,… or Matityahu… According to Josephus, who gives a complete list of all the High Priests, neither one is mentioned.

    So it’s a huge puzzle. Nowhere is the name or family of Hashmon mentioned. And there is a record some 150 years before of a High Priest “Jonathan”, which was regarded by experts to have been a scribal error and should have been Yochanan………..

    So where does that all leave us; are there any non-facetious opinions?

  33. Bear Klein Said:

    Jesus looked like

    he/she has to be rebuilt as a transgender non white coffee, rainbow (can one use the word coloured ?) maybe half human half beast. back to my H -M ISRAELI whisky then things will look clearer.

  34. Is it coincidence that the pictorials of what Jesus looked like completely resemble the pagan statues found in Roman Temples. These Roman Temples subsequently became Christian Churches. So did Jesus actually live even as a man or was he a Roman invention to provide competition to Judaism and its then popular messianic belief.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HS0WSEuousE

  35. AND A MERRY CHRISTIANMAS TO YOU ALL, me I’ll stick to Chanukah with a bottle of M & H ISRAELI whisky (not whiskey)

  36. Apropos today’s sabbath Torah reading, Esav hates Yaakov. The myth of the dead half-Jew half-Roman deity which is at the core of Christianity, but unacknowledged by the Christians, is the spiritual inheritance of Esav.

    Today their myth making continues. Have you heard the latest essentially racist fad among the crypto-supremacist evangelicals that they are the genetic descendants of Efraim and Menashe?

    Esav’s vengeance if not repaired will be the only thing resurrected in Christianity.

  37. Christ lived, Christ die, Christ rose from the dead and Christ will come again.

    The Old Testament is a wonderful precursor, but that’s all.

  38. I took great interest in the origins of Christianity and so read a lot and wrote this essay about 30 years ago.

    I am very impressed with your knowledge which far exceeds mine. Thank you for the elucidation.

    Although I wrote “In conclusion it may be safely said that all we know of the real Jesus was that he was crucified and had many siblings including James.”, on balance, I do not believe he existed.certainly not as the person portrayed in the Gospels.

  39. @ Edgar G.:
    Just to clarify, I just noticed an ambiguity. Aretas’ daughter, was the wife that Antipas sent back to her father, and then he married his own brother’s divorced wife.

  40. Ted, i your conclusion the assume that there was a “real” Jesus ….hmm.

    About the prophesy of a Moshiach in Isaiah, in his day, around 600 B.C.E. the term merely meant an anointed king or High Priest, not the Messianic all powerful rescuer of centuries later.

    I don’t recall any prophesy about a Moshiach in Isaiah, but I do know that there is one in Micah, where Bethlehem is referred to as Bethlehem Ephrata, obviously referring to it’s good growing soil and produce.

    Anyway, all the “experts” are unanimous in declaring that the “Historical” Jesus was born in Nazareth, even though the Gospel account through a very convoluted and likely fictitious “census” manages to have them appear in Bethlehem, to conform to their misappropriation of the Torah “Bethlehem Ephrata” mention.

    There was the only recorded census in the year 6, made by the Governor Quirinius, and described by Josephus, which is likely the basis for this fictitious convolution, supposedly 10-15 years before. (from 6 C.E to 9 B.C.E.)

    Archaeologists have shown that the Nazareth village of that time was about 2 miles lower and distant, from present day Nazareth.

  41. @ Edgar G.:

    Sorry momentary brain glitch; it was the “Historical” Jesus who died in 35=6 after John, who was actually mentioned I Josephus as appearing to baptise Jews in the year 6. and he was not young, but was well known for years. Josephus describes him as wearing a camel hair garment…presumably like many of the prophets of old.

    His baptism was NOT, contrary to Christian belief, to cleanse souls, He states that it was to cleanse the BODY so that it would match souls already mentally cleansed by prayer.

  42. I must say Ted that you have dealt with the Paul issue with excellence.

    The final fracture you mention, did not come in the 80s when that prayer was inserted. there were many offshoots of Judaism existing at that time regarded as minim, of whom the Ebionim were one. Scholars estimate as many as 30 or more,.

    The final rupture came in Bar Cochba’s time, when a certain group refused to aid him, and have been identified by many as early Christians, They have discovered a shard on which was written a note to his lieutenant, to go to these people and if they will not join in, to put them in chains. The first 5-6 Christian leaders were acknowledged Jews and they observed all the festivals and holy days including Shabat. This stopped after Bar Cochba’s final defeat, and from then on they were goyim.

    There were strong customs amongst pagan peasants to acquire the services of a learned Jew to pray in the fields for good crops and for rain, etc. This was stamped out eventually by the vindictive, unsteady Church.

    There have been many debates about the Moshiach and when the belief came into being, it came first, before the “evidences” were “found”, because it never was an article of Faith from the beginning. It seems to have really emerged during the time of the Hasmoneans, and the Perushim gathered the various vague references, whose real meanings, as the language and meanings changed, had been long lost centuries before, into a Moshiach belief. And there it has stood ever since. There were many opponents of the Maccabeans taking on themselves both the kingship and the High Priesthood which they believd was an abomination. The High Priest was always supposed to be chosen from the House of Zadok, David’s High Priest, descended from Eleazar. and always had been until the Hasmoneans rudely grabbed the coveted bauble.

    Good old Herod…..he was NOT a gentile, being born Jewish. His grandfather was an Edomite who had been forcibly converted to Judaism by, I think, Jochanan Hyrcanus, Antipater, was a Jew, maybe also converted but a Jew, and his son Herod was born a genuine Jew.

    About the “money changers”. They happened to have been a neccessary part of the Temple activities, because they changed a variety on mixed coinage proffered by those who came from all over Israel to sacrifice and donate, into the only acceptable coin, the Hebrew half-shekel. So I don’t believe that story. Also many of them combined money changing with supplying doves and etc, for the required sacrifices. They were NEEDED. Today we equate money changers with moneylenders, and often opressors of the poor. These were not such beings….or maybe they were in their spare time…who knows.

    At around the same time, it had been decided that for everyone to come up to Jerusalem 3 times a year was becoming an impossibility, so they formed the custom of electing one person or small group, to bring the sacrifice to the Temple, to which the whole village contributed, this achieving vicarious obedience to the Torah Law.

    I’m tired, so I’ll stop here….. with the last word….. the name of the Mamzer was “Pilate” or in Latin “Pilatus” a spear (Pilum) which I remember from my early-life studies. He certainly was NO Tugboat Annie. And nothing I’ve mentioned was “voted” on.

  43. Ted, NOTHING is known about the Historical Jesus. Sorry to disagree with you on several pertinent points, Assuming Jesus lived, he did not die 32 C.E. It must have been at least 35=6 C.E, because The Gospels say that John died FIRST, and he was killed by Antipas for objecting to his marriage to his brother’s divorced wife. That wife was the daughter of Aretas king of powerful Nabatea . To avenge this, Aretas declared war on Antipas and defeated him. Antipas appealed to Rome, and Tiberius ordered the Roman Commander to go and support Antipas, before he got further than Jerusalem Tiberius died,(?) in March 37 CE. so after the commander received the news, likely in late April or early May, he stopped to see what the new Emperor Caligula would order. So it has to be assumed that John died about 35-36 C.E. not 32. And the assumed Jesus, was not young, in John, I think is mentioned “that you are not yet 50 years old”… So, assuming a birth date of -9 B.C.E. and death of about 35 C.E. that remark could be the only authentic one in the whole 4 Gospel books.

    A little mention of Paul here. It has been reliably found that only about 5-6 of his “letters” are authentic” the rest being composed by mostly unknown others…”interpolated” as it were…what he might, should, would have said…if he ever actually lived.

    There will undoubtedly another post or two from me as I’m only beginning Ted’s megilla.

    Also Christianity became an ACCEPTED religion after the Council of Nicea in 325, presided over by Constantine, who remained a pagan. It only became the OFFICIAL religion in about 379 under Emperor Theodosius.

    And since Christianity definitely was derived from Judaism, if the origin of Judaism is lost in the mists of archaeological time, what is Christianity.