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Some Christian leaders have criticized the couple for preaching the “prosperity gospel” — the message that if you have faith in God and donate generously, you will profit in return. In 2010, donations to TBN totaled $93 million. The Crouches had two mansions in Newport Beach, Calif., and used corporate jets valued at $8 million and $49 million each.
“Jesus was not concerned with the ‘consummation’ of world history but with the twofold ‘end’ of history for the person in death or life.”
“Repentance no longer means simply to prepare for a future act of God, it means to lay hold of the present salvation [well-being] offered by God. Jesus’ call to repentance is a demand for decision and action by man, but it is set in the context of a prior decision and action by God in manifesting the Kingdom as salvation in Jesus.”
At most it has been established that Jesus intended to confront the hearer inescapably with the God who is near when he proclaimed ‘Repent, for God’s reign is near’ [Mk.1:15], i.e. that he intended a historical encounter with himself to be an eschatological encounter with God, and that he consequently understood his existence as that of a bringer of eschatological salvation.
The teaching of Jesus is directed toward the individual personality. Man is to submit his soul to God and to God’s will wholly and without reserve. Hence his preaching is for the most part imperative in character, if not in form. The central point for Paul is a divine and supernatural action manifested as a historical fact, or a complex of divine actions which open to mankind a salvation prepared for man.
Jesus called upon his hearer to break radically with the present evil aeon [Age], and to commit his life to the inbreaking kingdom. Paul called upon his hearer to die and rise with Christ….To break radically with the present evil aeon is to cut the ground from under one’s feet, to open oneself physically to death by breaking with the power structure of an evil society, and to open oneself spiritually to death by renouncing self-seeking as a motivation and giving oneself radically to the needs of one’s neighbour, as one’s real freedom and love. To do this because of faith in the inbreaking kingdom is to do it in faith that such total death is ultimately meaningful; in it lies transcendence, resurrection.
|Judas the Galilean||New Testament Lies||Three Messiahs|
If you haven’t any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble.
And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
I Cor. 13:13
The time between the death of Jesus and the fully developed christology which we find in the earliest Christian documents, the letters of Paul, is so short that the development which takes place within it can only be called amazing.
Daniel Unterbrink contends that the “Jesus” of the Bible was actually a composite figure, a clever blend of the Jewish freedom-fighter Judas the Galilean and Paul’s divine-human Christ figure created in the middle of the first century CE. Revealing why Paul was known as a liar, enemy, and traitor in other Jewish literature, he shows that the New Testament Gospels are not transcripts of actual history but creative works of historical fiction designed to promote Paul’s Christianity and serve the interests of the fledgling Gentile Christian communities. He demonstrates how each Gospel is written in light of the success of Paul’s religion and dependent upon his later perspective.
In one short paragraph, Daniel T. Unterbrink wrote: “The above forty similarities between Judas the Galilean and Jesus…the combination of the forty coincidences between Judas the Galilean and Jesus of Nazareth…” This novelist can not distinguish between similarity: The quality or condition of being similar; resemblance…and coincidence: A remarkable concurrence of events or circumstances without apparent causal connection. Similarity would be the appropriate word for his prime thesis about Christianity: Jesus Christ never existed. And the corollaries: miraculous healing did not happen; teaching about the Kingdom of God is bulloney; a Christian life is a cruise to nowhere.
This example of a vocabulary challenged individual illustrates the core problem with these books. Anyone with basic knowledge of his arguments can punch holes through them with ease. Dan Unterbrink is the Archon of Coincidence. “This may seem like a harmless coincidence, but the number of coincidences goes beyond mere chance.” The Author throws unsourced arguments at the wall of conjecture, hoping, believing as an ideologue, some stuff sticks. “In a way, one can read Paul’s letters and say that Christ was Lord and the Lord was God.” Perhaps he expects to be taken seriously despite the fact none of his books includes an index.
Intended to inform, this exercise is distinctly regrettable and circumstantial (scroll to the bottom) for the Author was my oldest friend.
With his incisive ideological insight, he tortures the sources regarding Jesus Christ and Judas the Galilean, founder of the Jewish Fourth Philosophy; “coincidences” form the basis of three books: Judas the Galilean, New Testament Lies, and Three Messiahs. As will be demonstrated, the Author’s inveterate standard of naïve scholarship is grossly suspect; he employs coincidence and similarity as synonyms. Also, he actually thinks that Paul the Apostle founded “modern” Christianity, even though in his view, followers of the Fourth Philosophy were the first Christians.
Three works of fiction contend that Judas the G., a brigand and erstwhile Jewish patriot, was actually the historic figure behind the “Jesus myth.” When Judas disappeared from history, his followers, in the Author’s view, kept his story alive through the idea of the Resurrection, even though within the bounds of Jewish and non-Jewish intellectual thought, the “empty tomb” was inconceivable. A group of hysterical women did not experience an hallucination which became a vision that developed into the Resurrection — a Bultmann myth and the prevailing Koesterite view. The Resurrection was an event within history caused by an Agent without.
This Author thinks that because Josephus Flavius, (Joseph ben Mattathias) the first century Jewish historian, describes Judas the Galilean and devotes time to the fate of his sons and grandson, but fails to mention the death of Judas the “Gaulonite”, that must be Jesus! Using that line of reasoning as a premise, Athronges the Shepherd could be a candidate for the true identity of the Nazarene since his fate is not recorded by Josephus, though he mentioned what happened to his four brothers. Utilizing similar evidence and ideology, another writer has concluded that Simon Peter, “son of Judas the Galilean”, was crucified in the period AD 46-48.
The Author posits many crazy things: “I believe Josephus was obsessed with Jesus, but referred to him by the outsider’s name of Judas the Galilean.” “Jesus taught his disciples to share with one another, and this turned into the hocus pocus of Gospel lore.”
He makes mistakes like McDonald’s makes hamburgers.
“For example, the United States did not officially declare war on Germany and Japan until after Pearl Harbor. Therefore, any reports of U.S. fighting in the war would be after the attack on Pearl Harbor.”
Erich Topp, in command of U-552, nicknamed Roter Teufel, sank the USS Reuben James, 31 October, 1941, with the loss of 115 hands; all officers perished. Two weeks prior, the USS Kearney was torpedoed by the U-568. The American navy became involved in the war by escorting convoys to Iceland months before “the day of infamy.”
Common sense wonders, how can a junior scrivener who is unfamiliar with 20th century history, presume to posit with certitude events in the first century, c. 25 BC – AD 75? Just a thought.
Jesus of Nazareth’s “overall feelings for Pharisees was [sic] positive. ‘You are not far from the Kingdom of Heaven,’ Jesus said to one Pharisee (Mk.12:34).” The verse actually reads: “When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him [a scribe], ‘You are not far from the kingdom of God.’ After that no one dared ask him any question.” [1.] Though his specious assertions carry the weight of unassailable truth for those unfamiliar with the work of scholars and their sources, as well as the arguments, the Author merely nibbles at credulity.
“Cephas knew that the revolution must continue….Note that in the book of Acts and in Paul’s letters, James is always in Jerusalem and Cephas [Petros in Greek, and Cephas in Aramaic, are synonymous] in the field, preaching the revolution to the Jews.”
“While he clung to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them in the portico called Solomon’s Portico utterly astonished.” Acts 3:11 cf. 1:15, 2:15; Gal. 1:18.
“The mythical Jesus of the gospels was framed from the life and theology [sic] of Paul, and historical Jewish Judas.”
“Like the early followers of Judas the Galilean, and the early Christians of Acts [4:32-5:5] this Community [Essenes] also believed in pure communism.” [2.] You know, sharing. “…Mary, the mother of Jesus, was really Mary, the wife of Jesus.” Dan Unterbrink and Dan Brown: must be a connection. Judas the Galilean’s nickname/title was Jesus, “Savior,” from Joshua or “Yehoshua,” “The Lord [Yahweh] is Salvation.” Mt. 1:21; Lk. 2:11; Acts 5:31, 13:23.
Actually, in Jewish usage, nicknames were important “because there was a relatively small number of proper names in circulation.” “Christ” would be a more appropriate nickname. [3.] Obsessed you say? Et tu?
“Beginning in the fourth century, the various Gospels [Gospel of Peter, of Judas, of Philip, of Mary?] and letters of Paul were coalesced into a larger book known as the New Testament.”
One of his most ludicrous assertions concerns the formation of the New Testament canon. He actually thinks that Christian communities did not begin collecting their sacred writings until the time persecution had ended in AD 311, when even a casual New Testament reader knows that Paul’s letters are mentioned: II Pet. 3:16, a probable second century document. This assertion is standard ahistorical information that abounds in these books. By the beginning of the third century, “there was increasingly widespread agreement on most of what now makes up the New Testament.” [4.] The Author was unaware of the Muratorian Canon, a late second century Latin list of Christian books, until I mentioned it to him, though in his mind this documentary evidence probably represents a Christian forgery. His theories about James and Paul, presented as tenuous fact, are puerile rationalizations based upon his agenda to attack Christianity.
“Surely, Paul incorporated the rites of Mithra into his Gentile Christian community’s [ies'] celebration of the Lord’s Supper.” [5.]
This avenue of attack upon the Jesus of the Gospels that suggests Paul established a religion with the Risen Christ as the focus of a mystery cult resurrection savior god can be easily disposed of: the Last Supper is associated in the gospels with the Passover, a purely Jewish institution. Unlike the mystery religions, Dionysus, Demeter, and the like, Christianity offered individual immortality rather than a group or collective immortality. [6.]
Mithra was “a savior god, the spirit of the light born into this world and whose soteriological act was the slaughter of a cosmic bull.” This god of the legions, originated in Persia, and during the campaigns of Pompey in Syria, Roman soldiers encountered this cult. Shedding of blood insured fertility and afforded the adherent comfort in the belief of survival after death. “His male analogues, Osiris, Attis and Adonis, brought life by their own rebirth and rejuvenation; Mithra achieved the same end by the slaughter of another.”
Mithraic rites were conducted underground in the Mithraeum, a chapel for men only. An ethos of masculine aggression accompanied by virtues of brotherhood and courage that attend the military life accounted for its appeal. “The sacramental life of the Mithraic church included baptism for the forgiveness of sins, a sacred meal, and the rite of confirmation in the army of Mithra.” By the beginning of the fourth century, Mithra was known as “the official protector of the Empire.” [7.] Historically, how many Jewish-Roman soldiers commanded a cohort? Did John the Baptist sheath his sword and turn to Yahweh; did he pass on “washing” before he left the emperor’s service? Just a thought.
The word “Savior” is found once in the commonly accepted epistles written by Paul: “But our citizenship is in heaven, and it is there we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ…” Phil. 3:20. It is probable that this epistle was written while Paul awaited trial at Rome: “Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The friends who are with me greet you. All the saints greet you, especially those who are of the emperor’s household. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” Phil. 4:21-23; Acts 28:16.
In the Gospels and Acts, “Savior” is found five times. In the Pastoral Epistles, “Savior” was used ten times. Evidence suggests that common usage of Sōter occurred after the death of the apostles. The Pastoral Epistles, I Timothy, II Timothy, and Titus, are considered to have been written after the death of Paul and concern church organization and doctrine. “Savior” and “epiphany” were words in common use among Greek-speaking Jews and Gentiles. Epiphany and Savior connote the manifestation (appearance) or beneficial action of a divinity. The five occurrences of “epiphany” in the Pastorals refer to Jesus’ “future appearance as Savior and judge.” These two words had become associated with the growing emperor cult. Application of the title “Savior” to Jesus at the end of the first century reflects “the equivalent claims” of the emperor cult, “which was emphasized more in the late decades of the first century and thereafter, precisely when most scholars think that the Pastorals were composed.” [8.]
“I, I, am the Lord, and besides me there is no Savior.” Is. 43:11 cf. 49:26.
In the Epistle to Titus, Jesus and Savior are clearly distinguished. Latin and English translation follow:
expectantes beatam spem et adventum gloriae magni Dei et salvatoris nostri Iesu Christi
looking for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ
In Judaism, “salvation” was corporate (Joel 3:17; Amos 9:11-15; Zech. 2:10-12; Is. 27:12-13), not individual, which is why first-century Jews looked for the restoration of the Kingdom of David on earth. Sōter translates the Hebrew “Moshia.” The primitive Judean Christian tradition and more developed Johanine community did not consider Jesus to be God incarnate. “And I have seen, and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.” Jn. 1:35. Followers of Judas the G. may have accorded him messianic status, but it is improbable to the point of absurdity that he was considered God on earth, their Deliverer: Jn. 1:49.
The Author’s source for the assertion of a Mithraic similarity with the communal meal of thanksgiving is Justin Martyr’s First Apology, LXVI:
“For the apostles, in the memoirs composed by them, which are called Gospels, have thus delivered unto us what was enjoined upon them; that Jesus took bread, and when He had given thanks, said, ‘This do ye in remembrance of Me, this is My body;’ and that, after the same manner, having taken the cup and given thanks, He said, ‘This is My blood;’ and gave it to them alone. Which the wicked devils have imitated in the mysteries of Mithras, commanding the same thing to be done. For, that bread and a cup of water are placed with certain incantations in the mystic rites of one who is being initiated, you either know or can learn.”
The Author enjoys pointing out Paul’s “lies” but quotes him out of context e.g. Gal:1:20. He thinks the Last Supper was a “pagan exercise” unhistorical, a fiction, created by Paul; the Apostle “penned” this or that. Our word pen derives from the Latin penna (feather), but Paul employed a stylus. “Since Paul’s gospel concerning grace, is the centerpiece [Hello...the Resurrection...Easter Sunday?] of traditional Christianity…”, which means the Apostle became the enemy of the Jerusalem Church, and Jesus. James and Cephas (Peter) “excommunicated” Paul in AD 44, but this is not historical and stands contrary to tradition: II Pet. 3:15, 16; Ig. Eph.12. Excommunication did not become common episcopal practice until the Council of Elvira in the fourth century. Moreover, James allowed Paul to perform “penance”: Acts 21:17-24 cf. 18:18. [9.] This faux historian and ersatz theologian ignores or dismisses this compelling evidence that Paul remained a member of the apostolic church. He misses the mark badly, like a marksman with a scatter gun instead of a Springfield with forty rounds of minié balls.
One of his more curious un-sourced assertions (many un-sourced assertions) is that the Epistle of James was written to the Gentiles to counter Paul’s teaching, even though this letter is the “most Jewish, the most undistinctively Christian document in the NT [New Testament].” [10.] In addition, this epistle is not directed to a Gentile church: “To the twelve tribes in Dispersion: Greetings.” Jas. 1:1. He also thinks that the Acts of the Apostles is “useless” for dating events, even though during Paul’s first missionary journey, Sergius Paulus, the proconsul of Cyprus, is mentioned: Acts 13:7 cf. 18:12-17.
In my view, the theological antagonism between James and Paul is a contrived tea cup tempest, exaggerated, intellectual masturbation, at which scholars and pseudo-scholars excel. “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith, but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,’ and yet you do not supply them their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith, by itself, if it has no works, is dead. But someone will say, ‘You have faith, and I have works.’ Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith.” Jas. 2:14-18. Here, Paul agrees with James. “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything; the only thing that counts is faith working through love.” Gal. 5:5, 6 cf. Gosp. Thom. 53. “We ourselves are Jews by birth, and not Gentile sinners, yet we know that a person is justified not by the works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ [in a right relationship with God]. And we have come to believe in Christ Jesus, so that we might be justified by faith in Christ, and not by doing the works of the law, because no one will be justified by the works of the law.” Gal. 2:15, 16. Where Paul refers to “works,” he does not mean “good works” but works of the Law, like dietary restrictions or circumcision, which non-Jews abhorred.
Paul was not hostile to Israel (Rom. 11) but by taking his message to the Gentiles and not forcing them to convert to Judaism, Paul fulfilled prophecy: “I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness, I have taken you by the hand and kept you; I have given you as a covenant to the people, and a light to the nations [Gentiles] to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness.” Is. 42:6, 7 cf. Gal. 3:8. Paul apparently interpreted this tradition as his personal revelation from the Risen Christ. He became the “apostle to the Gentiles” because the Jews rejected the message of salvation: well-being. [11.] Paul recognized that forcing Gentiles to convert to Judaism in order to become a follower of Christ placed an undo and unnecessary burden upon the individual: Gal. 5:1-4; Acts 15:1. “In late Judaism conversion to Israel’s God – from being a pagan to a Jew – was an action that resulted in a social break with one’s property, home and family, and this had become a traditional commonplace for conversion among Jews of the Diaspora [outside Judea, Paul’s missionary field]. Being converted meant in practice surrendering all one’s possessions, becoming odious, having to leave father and mother, husband or wife, brother and sister, and all one’s worldly goods.” [12.]
Paul’s genius recognized that the Resurrection, defeat of death, I Cor. 15:21, applies to all men and women because all individuals are subject to death.
“St. Paul’s innovation or contribution was not to coin the idea that Jesus’ death and resurrection were redemptive, nor to make this idea central to early Christian beliefs. The tradition that Paul cites explicitly shows that this idea had long been a key feature of circles of believers that appear to take us back to the Jerusalem church. But in Jewish Christian usage, the view of Jesus’ death as redemptive had served mainly christological concerns, giving a rationale for the death of God’s Messiah. Paul’s innovation lay in contending that this traditional view of Christ’s death and resurrection also gave a rationale for the programmatic salvation of Gentiles without their observance of Torah, an aim which he believed himself called to obtain through his Gentile mission.” [13.]
The Author likes ridiculing Paul’s unique gospel by impugning his state of mind, yet the prophetic tradition clearly states that the Jewish nation shall be a light to the Gentiles: Is. 49:6, 60:3 cf. Lk. 2:32, 3:1. In fact, there were two gospels. The good news about the Kingdom of God announced in the career of Jesus and the good news about the Risen Christ, the message of the apostles. Paul’s unique gospel of grace entailed forgiveness of sins, strength for the present life, and hope for life in the future. The Apostle was right.
“In short, Paul invented his gospel from dreams and visions where he had direct talks with the Risen Christ [Judas the G.?] This was his overwhelming argument to his naïve Gentile audience. Today, his only audience would be therapists in a mental ward.”
Directing his animus against “crazy” Paul, II Cor. 12:1-5, [14.] the Author cites as a proof text: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets: I came not to abolish, but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever does them, will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” Mt. 5:17-19. This confirms in his own mind that the Jewish Church at Jerusalem led by James was in conflict with Paul and the Torah/Law, and therefore Jesus.
Inexplicably, the Author does not cite the succeeding verse: “For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Mt. 5:20, 23:13-15; Lk. 11:52 cf. Gosp. Thom. 39. Matthew customarily substituted “heaven” for “God,” but also used Kingdom of God, e.g. Mt.12:28. Jesus, with the self-consciousness of the “eschatological prophet,” and “the true teacher of the Law,” interpreted righteousness for the Torah as love, agape, for God and one’s neighbor, a person in need. [15.]
In Mark, considered to be the earliest gospel and by tradition reflecting the preaching of Peter, we read: “And one of the scribes came near, and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he had answered them well, he asked him, ‘Which commandment is the first of all?’ Jesus answered, ‘The first is, Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; and you shall love the Lord thy God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this, You shall love thy neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.’ Then the scribe said to him, ‘You are right, Teacher, you have truly said that he is one; and beside him there is no other; and to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as one’s self, this is much more important than all whole burnt-offerings and sacrifices.’ When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, ‘You are not far from the kingdom of God.’ After that no one dared to ask him any question.” Mk. 12:28-35. The Marcan community interpreted these commandments in light of “Graeco-Jewish” tradition whereby “love of God and ethics are much more than all the cultic requirement of the Torah.” Jesus revered the Law but deplored legalistic ideology that inhibited with barriers the relationship between God and man. Due to his sui generis understanding of and relationship with God, He liberated man. [16.]
On the Sabbath, the day of rest, Jesus’ disciples “worked.” “One Sabbath he was going through the grain fields; and as they made their way his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. The Pharisees said to him, ‘Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?’ And he said to them, ‘Did you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need of food? He entered the house of God, when Abiathar was high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the high priests to eat, and gave some to his companions.’ Then he said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the Sabbath: so the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.’” Mk. 2:23-28; Mt. 12:1-8; Lk. 6:1-11.
On the Sabbath, the day of rest, Jesus “worked.” “When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had been lying there a long time, he said to him, ‘Do you want to be made well?’ The sick man answered him, ‘Sir, I have no one, to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; and while I am making my way, someone else steps down ahead of me.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Stand up, take up your mat, and walk.’ At once the man was made well, and took up his mat and began to walk. Now that day was the Sabbath. So the Jews said to the man who had been cured, ‘It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your mat.’ But he answered them, ‘The man who made me well said to me, Take up your mat, and walk.’ They asked him, ‘Who is the man that said to you, Take it up and walk?’ Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was; for Jesus had disappeared in the crowd that was there. Later Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, ‘See, you have been made well! Do not sin any more, so that nothing worse happens to you.’ The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. Therefore the Jews started persecuting Jesus, because he was doing such things on the Sabbath. But Jesus answered them, ‘My Father is still working and I also am still working.’ For this reason the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because he was not only breaking the Sabbath, but was also calling God his own Father, thereby making himself equal to God.” Jn. 5:6-17, 9:1-49 cf. Mt. 12:9-14; Mk. 3:1-5; Lk. 14:1-6.
Originally, the Sabbath was introduced into Jewish culture for practical reasons, to rest animals and slaves, but became “perverted…into an intolerable burden for the individual.” Jesus brought out the soteriological aspect of the Law by giving individuals the freedom “to do good.” [17.] “Owe no man anything, save to love one another; for the one that loves another [or “neighbor”] has fulfilled the law. The commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet’; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.” Rom. 13:8-10; Gal. 5:14; I Pet. 3:8. The Body of Christ, the church, is never more united than when believers unite to assist victims of natural disaster: I Pet. 4:19.
“Then someone came to him and said, ‘Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?’ And he said to him, ‘Why do you ask me about that which is good? There is one who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.’ He said to him, ‘Which one?’ And Jesus said, ‘You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; Honor your father and mother, also; You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ The young man said to him, ‘l have kept all these, what do I still lack?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’ When the young man heard this word, he went away grieving; for he had many possessions. Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Truly I tell you, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven.’ Mt. 19:16-24.
Jesus focused his preaching on the Kingdom of God: [18.] “…Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news [gospel].’” Mk. 1:14, 15; Mt. 4:23, 9:35; Lk. 4:43, 8:1, 16:16, 17:20, 21 cf. Gos. Thom. 2, 113. His parables and actions did not focus on the Law. The Kingdom of God, the rule or dominion of God in the individual life, implied the end of the Age when God intervened in history, but the actions of Jesus in healing and exorcism implied that God’s rule was already manifest. Jesus expected his message of repentance (defined at Lk. 3:8-14, 5:32) and parables, to produce a paranesis, “something radical, a complete turn round of the basic direction of the hearers’ lives and attitudes…” He did not ask for faith in himself, [19.] which became the message of the apostles after the Resurrection. Acts 2:31, 4:2. Essentially, faith in the Risen Christ means trust in the Lord and faith in the power of God: Acts 2:22, 25, 3:15; Rom. 6:4; 10:9. Miracles of healing in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke were the product of faith: “And after getting into a boat, and he crossed the sea and came to his own town. And just then some people were carrying a paralyzed man lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.’ Then some of the scribes said to themselves, ‘This man is blaspheming.’ But Jesus perceiving their thoughts said, ‘Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, Your sins are forgiven; or to say, Stand up and walk? But so that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins’ – he then said to the paralytic – ‘Stand up, take your bed, and go home.’ And he stood up and went to his home. When the crowds saw it, they were filled with awe, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to human beings.” Mt. 9:1-8 cf. 8:5-13, 15:28.
The good news about the Kingdom of God became the good news about the Risen Lord, Acts 2:4, 3:19, else Jesus of Nazareth would have been forgotten, like Judas the G. The Rabbi, Jn. 1:38, re-interpreted the Law. Mt. 5:38-48; Lk. 6:20-49. “Jesus’ message of God’s rule centered on the well-being of mankind.” [20.]
In the Gospel of John, “Kingdom of God” appears twice: “Jesus answered him, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above [or “again”].’ Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can anyone be born after growing old? Can one enter a second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?’ Jesus answered, ‘Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water [“wisdom,” cf. Eph. 1:17, 18; Acts 6:3; Wisd. of Sol. 9:17; Is. 11:2] and Spirit!’” Jn. 3:3-5. Consistent with the Author’s logic, the Johannine community’s tradition would also be in conflict with James at Jerusalem. At Mt.10:5 cf. 15:24, Jesus enjoins the apostles from preaching to Samaritans and healing them, which is at variance with the story of the Samaritan woman at the well, Jn. 4:4-30, along with the story of the Good Samaritan. Lk:10:33-38; Acts 8:25. The word repentance never appears in John’s gospel, but this kerygma about the Kingdom remained central to the teaching of the apostles: Acts 5:31, 11:18, 20:21, 28:31.
Jesus in Matthew’s gospel is clearly seen as the fulfillment of the Law given by Moses. The five blocks of teaching included in Matthew (5-7; 9:36-10:42; 13:1-52; 17:22-18:35; 23-25) may have been intended to parallel the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Old Testament. [21.] The Son of God, Mt. 14:32, interprets the Law in terms of love in contrast to Jewish legalism [22.] and is more concerned with daily life: Our Father…Mt.6:11…Lk.11:3…turn the other cheek, do unto others. Matthew’s concern with righteousness applied to keeping the Law, while Paul’s concern with righteousness (Rom. 10) did not reject observance of the Law but “was entirely in defense of Gentile conversion on the basis of faith in Christ, over against those who wished to make circumcision and Torah observance a requirement for all.” Paul taught that faith in Christ was the “essential basis for a relationship with God.” [23.]
Judas the Gaulonite taught Jews nationalism, reject Rome and refuse to pay taxes, and perhaps, not to fear death.
“But of the fourth sect of Jewish philosophy, Judas the Galilean was the author. These men agree in all other things with the Pharisaic notions; but they have an inviolable attachment to liberty, and say that God is to be their only Ruler and Lord. They also do not value dying any kinds of death, nor indeed do they heed the deaths of their relations and friends, nor can any such fear make them call any man lord.” Ant. 18.1.6
Josephus wrote that both Jesus and Judas were sopher aner, or a wise man, but did not record any of the wise words of the brigand nor did he note, even though in the Author’s opinion he was obsessed with the Gaulonite, Jesus of Nazareth’s self-designation, “Son of Man,” which appears eighty-one times in the gospels. This was not an honorific or confessional title within the primitive Judean community nor a pre-Christian title for a pre-existent redeemer figure from heaven. Disciples did not address Jesus as Son of Man. [24.] Surely, Josephus obsessed, would have known that distinguishable fact about his subject! Wise man was not a title or description for Jesus employed by Christians.
Perhaps the key to understanding Jesus is not found in Christological titles — Lord = dignity, Christ = function, Son of God = relationship — but in following His teachings — Mt. 6:31-34; Mk. 1:15, 6:13; Lk.12: 22-32, 18:16; Jn. 3:5, 6:68 — and the experience of Paul — Gal:4:6.
Paul did not introduce novel Christian doctrines. [25.] Abba is an Aramaic word found at: Mk. 14:36; Gal. 4:6; Rom. 8:15. “If any man loves not the Lord, let him be anathema. Maranatha.” I Cor. 16: 22; Rev. 22:20. The italicized word is Aramaic and can mean “O Lord, come!” or “Our Lord has come.” It was used in the earliest Christian liturgy. [26.] Nor did he introduce new Christology, Phil. 2:6-11, for he preached according to the Scriptures: I Cor. 15:3, 4; Acts 17:2; Mt. 22:9; Mk.14:49; Lk. 24:28; Jn. 5:39; II Pet. 1:19-21.
“Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures, the gospel concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness by resurrection from the dead. Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles [or “nations”] for the sake of his name; including yourselves who are called to belong to Jesus Christ: To all of God’s beloved in Rome, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Rom. 1:1-7.
The Apostle composed his most theological letter for the church at Rome, but did not found this assembly of God’s people. He expected his readers to be familiar with the theolougemom of Jesus’ Davidic descent “because the Roman Christians will recognize this creedal formula as an expression of their shared faith and as a basis of shared discussion. The very reason Paul starts his epistle with this formulation of faith is that it is common ground that he shares with the Romans, a way that he can show them he is a ‘true believer’ who holds the same faith they do.” [27.] Declaring Jesus to be the Son of God, divine, did not originate with Paul. “Divine sonship was…a familiar category in the biblical and Jewish tradition that shaped the vocabulary of early first-century Christian circles….In view of recently published texts from Qumran [Dead Sea Scrolls], it now seems more likely than earlier thought by some scholars that divine sonship was also part of the royal-messianic rhetoric of pre-Christian Judaism, and that biblical passages originally referring to Davidic kings were read as messianic texts.” [28.]
The Author subscribes to the outdated nineteenth century notion that Paul invented a personal savior god, which in his view, replaced Judas the Gaulonite’s Jewish messianic-nationalism message after the Fall of Jerusalem. This “mythical” Christ was compatible with pagan religions and cults that appealed to Gentiles, Isis and Serapis, for example, and should not surprise since this is the mind-set of a Zealot/Ideologue who believes something is true because it has to be true: WMD in Iraq. Post Second Temple Judaism split into Christianity and rabbinic Judaism.
“The once popular inclination to see in [Pauline] Christianity a highly derivative mystery religion rested upon two major premises, which have since crumbled away. The first was that where Christian scripture and the pagan mystery used terms in common, the term was a technical one in the mysteries and was used knowingly as such by the Christians. The presumption ignored two pieces of linguistic evidence: the Greek terminology already present in and popularized by the Septuagint, and free currency of the many terms used in the mysteries in the common speech of the Mediterranean.
The second premise, which at closer inspection proved illusory, was that the mysteries were as popular and as widespread in the first Christian century as they were in the third, from which most of our evidence on them derives, or they had at Christianity’s beginnings the same form and implication they later possessed. By the time Peter died at Rome the mystery cults were only beginning to lodge themselves in the capital. They were still very much disreputable foreign religions with lax moral standards. The more spacious and enlightened mysteries that converted Isis from a whore into a saint were the creation of a later time, and it is not unlikely that the obvious spiritualization of their moral teaching, far from providing a paradigm for Christianity, may have itself been a result of the mysteries’ being influenced by Christianity.” [Dr. Lynch's emphasis] [29.]
Moreover, the proto-orthodox Christianity that developed in the second, third, and fourth centuries was rife with “isms”: Marcionism, Sabellianism, Montanism, and Arianism, among many others. For example, are Jesus and God, homoousious or homoiousious? What is the nature of the ousious?
Beliefs became more important than actions, or inaction, contra the cardinal story of the Good Samaritan: Lk. 10:33-38. Jesus and Paul taught to inculcate a new morality within the Roman world that would establish a new paradigm for behavior. In her work Paul Among the People, Sara Ruden contrasts a pagan society that “deified violence and exploitation…” with Christianity.
I do nothing but go about persuading you all, old and young alike, not to take thought for your persons or your properties, but and chiefly to care about the greatest improvement of the soul. I tell you that virtue is not given by money, but that from virtue comes money, and every other good, public as well as private. This is my teaching, and if this is the doctrine which corrupts the youth, I am a mischievous person.
“Many…who profess to believe in Christ hold conflicting opinions not only on small and trivial questions but also on some that are great and important; on the nature, for instance of God, or of the Lord Jesus Christ, or of the Holy Spirit, and in addition on the natures of those created beings, the dominions and holy powers.”
Orthodox Christianity was established in the fourth century as a result of Constantine the Great’s reign. At first the emperor granted Christianity equal status with other religions, the Edict of Milan AD 313, then he tilted in favor of Christianity after AD 324. [30.] “There was, after all, no top down coercive success for any version of Christianity until after Constantine, when imperial endorsement and power could be brought to bear. Second-century bishops were elected by Christians of the locale in which they were to serve. So, for example, if a bishop did not have (or could not win) sufficient support from the local Christians, he could hardly impose on them some version of faith [beliefs] contrary to the preferences of the majority. Thus, if any version of Christianity enjoyed success and became more prominent than others in the first three centuries (whether locally of translocally), it was largely the result of its superior ability to commend itself to sufficient numbers of adherents and supporters.” [31.]
The Author’s “pen” produces pallid prose. Any literate person who reads his books will quickly grasp that he writes in cliches: “fits the bill”; “How did the Pharisees get such a bad rap?”; “…this John the Baptist revelation may be the smoking gun.” “This next to last coincidence may be the smoking gun behind the New Testament version of Jesus.” He presents evidence that demonstrates patently what he pretends to be: writer, historian, theologian. The Author commits numerous mistakes in reasoning; he is confounded by errors of fact, without realizing it. From my perspective, if the small ideas are false, how can the big ideas be believable — otiose? When confronted by contrary fact or opinion, his customary response is: “They don’t know.” “Nobody knows.” “Scholars have…” Indeed, there is scholarly opinion available that can be filtered through discernment. There are people who are in command of actual facts. The Author is like an architect treating patients or an engineer studying chemical reactions.
Following the Fall of Jerusalem, AD 70, the Author believes: “By 75 AD, the Fourth Philosophy (Jewish Christianity) was smashed. What was left of Christianity after the Jewish War were the congregations [Rome? Alexandria? Ephesus? Antioch? Corinth?] founded by Paul.” This is laughable, but sustains his foolish understanding of Paul’s supposed pervasive influence on the development of the Church. He believes that the void created by the imaginary disappearance of Jewish Christianity was filled by Paul’s neos savior god cult, which appealed to Gentiles.
“Moreover, devotion to Jesus as divine erupted suddenly and quickly, not gradually and late, among first-century circles of followers. More specifically, the origins lie in Jewish Christian circles of the earliest years. Only a certain wishful thinking continues to attribute the reverence of Jesus as divine decisively to the influence of pagan religion and the influx of Gentile converts, characterizing it as developing late and incrementally. Furthermore, devotion to Jesus as the ‘Lord,’ to whom cultic reverence and total audience were the appropriate response, was widespread, not confined or attributable to particular circles such as ‘Hellenists’ or Gentile Christians of a supposed Syrian ‘Christ’ cult.” [32.]
The most Jewish gospel, Matthew, was the most popular in the Church during the second century. The Revelation of John (Apocalypse), commonly thought to have been written in the late 1st century, which lists the twelve tribes from Judah through Benjamin, Rev. 7:5-8, draws upon Jewish apocalyptic thought. Ignatius of Antioch, writing in the very early 2nd century warned: “It is monstrous to talk of Jesus Christ and to practice Judaism. For Christianity did not believe in Judaism, but Judaism in Christianity, wherein every tongue believed and was gathered together unto God.” Ign. Magn. 10.3 cf. Philad. 6. The Ascension of Isaiah is a composite Jewish Christian work dated to the 2nd century. The Epistle of Barnabas, “was written at the close of the first century by a Gentile Christian of the school of Alexandria, with the view of winning back, or guarding from a Judaic form of Christianity, those Christians belonging to the same class as himself.” This brief survey of Christian literature demonstrates with evidence that Jewish Christianity had not been shattered by the destruction of the church at Jerusalem.
In the time of Constantine in the fourth century, Pope Silvester met with a group of Jewish Christians. They were the desposyni, “belong to the Lord”, blood relatives of Jesus who once represented the leadership of the Church at Jerusalem. Relatives of Jesus had always led the Jerusalem church, beginning with James, but had fled during the Jewish War. In AD 135, following the revolt of Simon bar-Kokhba, Jews and Christians were banned from Jerusalem and spread throughout Syria and Asia minor, setting up churches, “but they were always hated by the local synagogues as apostates of Judaism, and always in quarrel with Gentile Christians who refused to be circumcised and the Torah…”
The desposyni deputation petitioned the pope to remove the Greek bishops at Antioch, Alexandria, and Ephesus and replace them with desposyni. Naturally, the Gentile bishop of Rome rejected their proposal and Jewish Christianity died out, disappearing “into the anonymity of the new Eastern rites — Syriac, Assyrian, Greek, Armenian.” [33.]
To recapitulate, the Author contends that Jesus Christ in time and space was actually the Jewish brigand Judas the Galilean and Paul the Apostle created a resurrected savior god religion with pagan affinity which the Evangelists incorporated into their gospels. At this point, let the inchoate author speak for himself, though be warned, his theories are like Swiss cheese, riddled by grapeshot.
September 23, 2010
“The Three Messiahs” explains how a Jewish Messianic figure was transformed into Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God. From the writings of the Jewish historian, Josephus, Judas the Galilean was the only Messiah figure who matched the mythical Jesus of Nazareth in word and deed. Judas the Galilean preached a nationalistic message which pitted his followers against Herod the Great and Rome. Judas cleansed the Temple, was involved in a Barabbas-style prisoner release and led a tax revolt. His exploits were absorbed into the story of Jesus, who also cleansed the Temple, was involved in the Barabbas prisoner release and was arrested for his refusal to pay taxes to Rome.
To many Jews, Judas the Galilean was a failed Messiah. His followers, however, kept him relevant through the concept of bodily resurrection. They believed he would return and defeat the Romans. Paul accepted the resurrection but developed his own interpretation based upon personal revelations. His Messiah had nothing to do with Jewish politics but was a redeemer for all mankind. Paul’s theology became the bridge between the historical Judas the Galilean and the mythical Jesus of Nazareth. With the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE, Paul’s salvation theology soon replaced the Jewish nationalistic teachings of Judas. Within decades, Josephus’ historical Judas the Galilean was replaced with the Gospels’ Jesus of Nazareth.
Several tedious points need to be addressed.
Jewish revolts did not cease after the fall of Jerusalem. After Jospehus died, bar-Kochba led the most famous revolt AD 132 – AD 135. In the period AD 115 – AD 117, several Jewish revolts took place, including on the island of Cyprus and in Mesopotamia, which in Roman eyes, were comparable to a war with Mexicans in 1943, a threat to stability. During this period, the first quarter of the second century, Christians consciously separated from Jews to avoid the taint associated with a despised race. [34.] Indeed, Josephus seems to have been compelled to compose his defense of Judaism as a result of the opprobrium Jews acquired due to the revolt that ended with the fall of Jerusalem and the siege of Masada. Apparently, the Jewish nationalistic teachings of Judas still resonated within the Diaspora…
Judas the Galilean’s movement centered in Jerusalem and in Galilee.
Josephus participated in the revolt against Roman rule which began in AD 66 and was captured by troops commanded by Titus Flavius Vespasianus. In AD 67, Josephus had predicted that Vespasian would become emperor, which happened in December AD 69. The emperor released Josephus from captivity at Caesara because the prediction gave Vespasian political legitimacy. The imperial purple afforded patronage to the former Jewish general, who wrote several important works including The War of the Jews and Antiquities of the Jews. Sons of Vespasian, Titus and Domitian completed the Flavian dynasty; Josephus died around AD 100, presumably at Rome. [35.]
For students of the New Testament, there is an obvious error of fact in the Author’s contention that Jesus was arrested because he refused to pay taxes (tribute) to Caesar. Luke states: “And the whole company of them rose up, and brought him before Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, We found this man perverting our nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, and saying that he himself is Christ a king.” Lk. 23:2 cf. 20:22-27. It is probable, though not certain, that Luke was aware of Josephus’ books or knew his sources. Luke and Josephus shared similar aims as apologists to defend their respective religions. [36.] He may have known or employed this particular passage: “Under his [Coponius'] administration it was that a certain Galilean, whose name was Judas, prevailed with his countrymen to revolt, and said they were cowards if they would endure to pay a tax to the Romans and would after God submit to mortal men as their lords. This man was a teacher of a peculiar sect of his own, and was not at all like the rest of those their leaders.” J.W. 2.118. [37.]
In the Author’s mis-guided mind, this single Lucan pericope is a solid link between the Jesus of the Gospels and the Judas of Josephus, but the weight of evidence does not support this vacuous belief. Scholars and historians weigh evidence, then form a considered opinion on the basis of available facts, not a single selective thread. His reliance on a single source betrays his ideology and goal to damage Christianity along with an exiguous grasp of sources which he employs with elasticity.
The other gospels do not make this claim and indeed all of them confirm that Jesus was crucified for the political charge that He claimed (or the Jewish street) to be king of the Jews, [38.] a threat to Rome’s imperium. In the Gospel of Mark, the high priest accused Jesus of blasphemy: “The Jews answered him [Pilate], We have a law, and by that law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.” Jn. 19:7 cf. Mk. 14:64; Mt. 26:65; Lk. 22:71.
Jesus was crucified for being King of the Jews: Mk. 15:26; Mt. 27:37; Lk. 23:38. “Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. Many of the Jews read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek. Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, ‘Do not write The King of the Jews; but, this man said, I am King of the Jews.‘ Pilate answered, ‘What I have written I have written.’ Jn. 19:19-23 cf. Acts 17:7.
“Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ The Jews then said, ‘This temple has been under construction forty-six years and will you raise it up in three days?’ But he was speaking of the temple of his body.” Jn. 2:20-22 cf. Mk. 15:29; Mt. 26:2; Eph. 2:19-22. As related by Josephus, Jesus, the son of Ananias, prophesied the destruction of the Temple four years before the beginning of the war with Rome. “Hereupon our rulers, supposing, as the case proved to be, that this was a sort of divine fury in the man, brought him to the Roman procurator, where he was whipped till his bones were laid bare; yet he did not make any supplication for himself, nor shed any tears, but turning his voice to the most lamentable tone possible, at every stroke of the whip his answer was, ‘Woe, woe to Jerusalem!’” J.W. 6.301-9. “So, the outcome of the arrest of Jesus of Nazareth means that he must have been taken as a much more serious threat than the poor wretch described by Josephus, and that probably something more than a disturbance in the temple courts during a tense holy-day period was involved.” [39.]
Second: “Paul’s theology…” would actually be “Christology,” knowledge or doctrine about Christ. Paul’s bridge between Jesus and Judas, the putative “new gospel,” gave it the ability “to envelop other religions of the Empire. The death and resurrection of Jesus easily replaced or complemented other mystery religions.” This is Valley of Hinnom rubbish; it has been disposed of above.
Third: the Author likes to emphasize the cleansing of the Temple by Judas as a consistent “coincidence” between Jesus and the brigand, who performed an overt political act that challenged the root of Roman rule, levying taxes.
“To Matthias and Judas, the Temple was dedicated to the unseen God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. But Herod has purposely adorned the Temple with a Golden Eagle, an image of beauty to Herod and his followers but a slap in the face to those who strictly interpreted the Scriptures. After all, did not God command His followers to abstain from idols (Deut. 5:8, 9), and did He not punish the children of Israel who fashioned a calf from gold while Moses received the Ten Commandments (Ex. 32). To Matthias, the Golden Eagle was no different than the calf authorized by Aaron. God would certainly reward those who destroyed such idols.”
In the received text from Josephus, we read:
“There was one Judas, the son of Saripheus, and Matthias, the son of Margalothus, two of the most eloquent men among the Jews, and the most celebrated interpreters of the Jewish laws, and men well beloved by the people, because of their education of their youth; for all those that were studious of virtue frequented their lectures every day. These men, when they found that the king’s distemper was incurable, excited the young men that they would pull down all those works which the king had erected contrary to the law of their fathers, and thereby obtain the rewards which the law will confer on them for such actions of piety; for that it was truly on account of Herod’s rashness in making such things as the law had forbidden, that his other misfortunes, and this distemper also, which was so unusual among mankind, and with which he was now afflicted, came upon him; for Herod had caused such things to be made which were contrary to the law, of which he was accused by Judas and Matthias; for the king had erected over the great gate of the temple a large golden eagle, of great value, and had dedicated it to the temple. Now the law forbids those that propose to live according to it, to erect images or representations of any living creature. So these wise men persuaded [their scholars] to pull down the golden eagle; alleging, that although they should incur any danger, which might bring them to their deaths, the virtue of the action now proposed to them would appear much more advantageous to them than the pleasures of life; since they would die for the preservation and observation of the law of their fathers; since they would also acquire an everlasting fame and commendation; since they would be both commended by the present generation, and leave an example of life that would never be forgotten to posterity; since that common calamity of dying cannot be avoided by our living so as to escape any such dangers; that therefore it is a right thing for those who are in love with a virtuous conduct, to wait for that fatal hour by such behavior as may carry them out of the world with praise and honor; and that this will alleviate death to a great degree, thus to come at it by the performance of brave actions, which bring us into danger of it; and at the same time to leave that reputation behind them to their children, and to all their relations, whether they be men or women, which will be of great advantage to them afterward.
And with such discourses as this did these men excite the young men to this action; and a report being come to them that the king was dead, this was an addition to the wise men’s persuasions; so, in the very middle of the day, they got upon the place, they pulled down the eagle, and cut it into pieces with axes, while a great number of the people were in the temple. And now the king’s captain, upon hearing what the undertaking was, and supposing it was a thing of a higher nature than it proved to be, came up thither, having a great band of soldiers with him, such as was sufficient to put a stop to the multitude of those who pulled down what was dedicated to God; so he fell upon them unexpectedly, and as they were upon this bold attempt, in a foolish presumption rather than a cautious circumspection, as is usual with the multitude, and while they were in disorder, and incautious of what was for their advantage; so he caught no fewer than forty of the young men, who had the courage to stay behind when the rest ran away, together with the authors of this bold attempt, Judas and Matthias, who thought it an ignominious thing to retire upon his approach, and led them to the king. And when they were come to the king, and he asked them if they had been so bold as to pull down what he had dedicated to God, Yes, (said they,) what was contrived we contrived, and what hath been performed we performed it, and that with such a virtuous courage as becomes men; for we have given our assistance to those things which were dedicated to the majesty of God, and we have provided for what we have learned by hearing the law; and it ought not to be wondered at, if we esteem those laws which Moses had suggested to him, and were taught him by God, and which he wrote and left behind him, more worthy of observation than thy commands. Accordingly we will undergo death, and all sorts of punishments which thou canst inflict upon us, with pleasure, since we are conscious to ourselves that we shall die, not for any unrighteous actions, but for our love to religion.” Ant. 17.6.2, 3.
Moses did not prohibit graven images. They were not unlawful to the Jews as long as there was no “intention to worship them…”
In contrast, the cleansing of the Temple by Jesus, Mk.11:16, 17, was not an attack upon the priestly cult since it occurred in the courtyard. As the eschatological prophet, Jesus conducted a religious protest consistent with the prophetic tradition: Amos 5:21-25; Jer. 7:3. Jesus protested “about the gulf between theory and practice in Judaism – the same complaint he makes about the way the sabbath is kept. Each time the conflict has to do with the gap between ‘orthodoxy’ and ‘orthopraxis’. Both sabbath and the Temple are tokens of God’s good and gracious will for Israel; but because the way things are done, they have become divorced from their proper purpose.” [40.]
The gospels connect the arrest of Jesus with the cleansing of the Temple because this act also carried political connotations. Due to the unpopularity of the Romans among the people and the Temple establishment’s support of the status quo, the cleansing of the Temple, along with his entry into Jerusalem, Mt. 21:9 cf. Mk. 12:35, probably created a “’messianic’ ambiance” around Him. Jesus could not be ignored. For one group of Jews, the wonder-worker gave hope for change and for another, the Son of David represented a threat. “What for Jesus is fully in keeping with his message of the praxis [practice] of the kingdom of God and his call to Israel to be converted to the true and living God became, considering the concrete situation, in the eyes of an exasperated nation a course of daring and provocative behaviour, which indeed aroused messianic expectations among the people, but among the authorities grave suspicion and hostility. What was in fact – and in conformity with Jesus’ life as a whole – a prophetic act on the part of the latter-day messenger from God, intended to stir up in Israel a faith in God – Jesus’ attitude to the Law, the sabbath and the Temple was turned (partly by the prism of popular opinion) into a mortal threat against the official establishment.” [41.]
Whereas, Jesus of Nazareth challenged the religious legitimacy and authority of the Sadducees, Pharisees, and scribes, Judas the Gaulonite challenged the political legitimacy and authority of the Romans.
The Author wrote two other books he describes below:
I have written two books which tell a new tale concerning Jesus of Nazareth. The first book, “Judas the Galilean”, explores the similarities between Jesus and another first-century rabbi, Judas the Galilean. Both men cleansed the Temple in Jerusalem, were involved in a Barabbas-style prisoner release, were proclaimed Messiah in Galilee, and both founded new philosophies. The Jewish historian, Josephus, wrote extensively about the life of Judas the Galilean but did not mention the cause or date of Judas’ death. On the other hand, Josephus did not describe a single action of Jesus but did tell of Jesus’ crucifixion at the hands of Pilate. Many scholars doubt the reliability of the “Jesus” passage in Josephus. I believe this “Jesus” passage was a substitution for the death of Judas the Galilean. Judas the Galilean founded the fourth philosophy (later known as the Zealots), and was always on the mind of Josephus. Josephus recorded the crucifixions of two of Judas’ sons (45-47 CE), the stoning of another son, Menahen, who marched on Jerusalem ala Jesus in 66 CE, and the suicide of a grandson, Eleazar, at Masada in 73 CE. It is incomprehensible that Josephus would have forgotten to tell of Judas the Galilean’s death. It is my contention that Jesus was simply a title for Judas the Galilean, and that the early church tried to distance Jesus from his true past.
The second book, “New Testament Lies”, covers much of the same material as “Judas the Galilean”, with one exception: “New Testament Lies” incorporates the Slavonic Josephus. Scholars have ignored the Slavonic Josephus for two reasons. First, a comprehensive comparison of the Slavonic version of the “War” with the Greek version was not published until 2003. Second, many items within the Slavonic “War” are not consistent with Traditional Christianity. The Slavonic Josephus includes “the star of Bethlehem” infant narrative but dates the story at 25 BCE, a full generation before the date as calculated in Matthew. There are three passages about John the Baptist which go against the conventional Gospel accounts. First, John came baptizing at the river Jordan in 6 CE, immediately before the tax revolt against Rome, led by Judas the Galilean. (Note that Jesus was crucified for his refusal to pay taxes to Rome.) This John also preached the same philosophy as practiced by Judas. In short, according to the Slavonic Josephus, John the Baptist was a disciple of Judas the Galilean. The two other passages concerning John place John’s death at 36 CE, several years after the Gospel death of Jesus. This is confirmed by Josephus’ “Antiquities”. Obviously, the Gospel timeline of John the Baptist was shifted in order to hide John’s connection with Judas the Galilean. The Slavonic Josephus also disproves the stories of Judas Iscariot and Barabbas. According to this source, the High Priests paid Pilate 30 talents to arrest Jesus, and it was Jesus who was released to the crowd, not Barabbas (Judas the Galilean was released to the Jewish crowd in 4 BCE by the son of Herod the Great, Archelaus.)
This is a very complicated subject, in that all of Christianity is turned upside down. With this earlier timeline for Jesus, it is now possible to compare the early church to the writings of Josephus. The result is unsettling. The hero of Traditional Christianity, Paul, becomes the traitor as depicted by Josephus and other early writings. The introduction of Judas Iscariot by the Gospel writers was just an attempt to shift blame from Paul to a Jewish Apostle. This whole cover-up is detailed in both books. What is at stake? The future of Christianity.
“…mythicists, however, do not offer anything resembling scholarship in support of their views and instead present the unsuspecting public with sensationalist claims that are so extravagant, so wrongheaded, and so poorly substantiated that it is no wonder that scholars do not take them seriously.” 21
Those who are familiar with topics that the Author attempts to address with authority, necessarily regard these writings as risible.
As best I can determine, the Author produced his second book, New Testament Lies, because he ecountered Slavonic Josephus, an abridged version of the Jewish War. This work, most likely based upon a Byzantine source, was composed centuries after the death of Josephus.
Perhaps the most salient sentence in this second book reads:
“Only the most stubborn believer will not recognize that Judas was the Messiah who John [the Baptist] was recommending to the people.” The preceding quote encapsulates problems with these books; Dan twists sources to serve his baleful purpose. His belief that Judas and the Baptist worked together is unsupported by sources.
“Yet was there one Judas, a Gaulonite, of a city whose name was Gamala, who, taking with him Sadduc a Pharisee, became zealous to draw them to a revolt, who both said that this taxation was no better than an introduction to slavery, and exhorted the nation to assert their liberty; as if they could procure them happiness and security for what they possessed, and an assured enjoyment of a still greater good, which was that of the honor and glory they would thereby acquire for magnanimity. They also said that God would not otherwise be assisting to them, than upon their joining with one another in such councils as might be successful, and for their own advantage; and this especially, if they would set about great exploits, and not grow weary in executing the same; so men received what they said with pleasure, and this bold attempt proceeded to a great height. All sorts of misfortunes also sprang from these men, and the nation was infected with this doctrine to an incredible degree; one violent war came upon us after another, and we lost our friends which used to alleviate our pains; there were also very great robberies and murder of our principal men. This was done in pretense indeed for the public welfare, but in reality for the hopes of gain to themselves…” Ant.18.104.22.168.
Notice, like a television evangelist, Josephus states that these two revolutionaries claimed God would assist them, even though: “This was done in pretense indeed for the public welfare, but in reality for the hopes of gain to themselves…” Though Judas the G. may have been regarded as a Messianic claimant, “There was also Judas, the son of that Ezekias who had been head of the robbers; which Ezekias was a very strong man, and had with great difficulty been caught by Herod. This Judas, having gotten together a multitude of men of a profligate character about Sepphoris in Galilee, made an assault upon the palace [there] and seized upon all the weapons that were laid up in it, and with them armed every one of those that were with him, and carried away what money was left there; and he became terrible to all men, by tearing and rending those that came near him; and all this in order to raise himself, and out of an ambitious desire of the royal dignity; and he hoped to obtain that as the reward not of his virtuous skill in war, but of his extravagance in doing injuries. Ant.17.10.5 [42.]
Slavonic Josephus introduces non-canonical details about Jesus and the Baptist that also are absent from Antiquities or The Jewish War that the Author employs to corroborate his time-line which asserts Pilate became prefect in AD 18 and the Crucifixion took place the following year. This premise can only be sustained if Pilate’s predecessor, Valerius Gratus, Ant. 18.33-35, held office for three years instead of eleven, and Josephus Flavius is mistaken or the Author is correct, despite numismatic E-V-I-D-E-N-C-E to the contrary.
This curious document identifies by name neither Jesus nor Judas, but states:
“At that time also a man came forward, — if even it is fitting to call him a man [simply]. His nature as well as his form were a man’s; but his showing forth was more than [that] of a man. His works, that is to say, were godly, and he wrought wonder-deeds amazing and full of power. Therefore it is not possible for me to call him a man [simply]. But again, looking at the existence he shared with all, I would also not call him an angel. And all that he wrought through some kind of invisible power, he wrought by word and command. Some said of him, that our first Lawgiver has risen from the dead and shows forth many cures and arts. But others supposed [less definitely] that he is sent by God….Now he opposed himself in much to the Law and did not observe the Sabbath according to ancestral custom [emphasis added]. Yet, on the other hand, he did nothing reprehensible nor any crime; but by word solely he effected everything. And many from the folk followed him and received his teachings. And many souls became wavering, supposing that thereby the Jewish tribes would set themselves free from the Roman hands….But when they saw his power, that he accomplished everything that he would by word, they urged him that he should enter the city and cut down the Roman soldiers and Pilate and rule over us. But that one scorned it.”
This source states the Jews executed “Jesus” after they had bribed Pilate with 30 talents of gold. Follows on Bellum Judaicium II. ix. 3. The above description matches Jesus Christ, not Judas the G.
“And it was said that after he was put to death, yea after burial in the grave, he was not found. Some then assert that he is risen; but others, that he has been stolen by his friends. I, however, do not know which speak more correctly. For a dead man cannot rise of himself — though possibly with the help of another righteous man; unless it (lit. he) will be an angel or another of the heavenly authorities, or God himself appears as a man and accomplishes what he will, — both walks with men and falls, and lies down and rises up, as it is according to his will. But others said that it was not possible to steal him, because they had put guards all round his grave, — thirty Romans, but a thousand Jews.” Follows on Bellum Judaicium V. v. 4
“At it (the barrier of the Temple) were columns. . .and on these inscriptions in Greek and Roman and Jewish characters, publishing the law of purity and [proclaiming] that no foreigner should enter the inner [court]; for they called it the Holy [Place] to which one had to ascend by fourteen steps, and whose upper part was built in a square. And over these tablets with inscriptions hung a fourth tablet with inscription in these [three] characters, to the effect: Jesus has not reigned as king; he has been crucified by the Jews, because he proclaimed the destruction of the city and the laying waste of the temple.” Inserted in Bellum Judaicium V. v. 2. [43.]
This data corroborates gospel accounts about Jesus of Nazareth’s career and execution in all respects except for the single difference: He was executed by Jewish authorities instead of Pilate, the Roman authority.
For additional background on this source: click here
The Author’s conclusions are not warranted: “Judas was crowned Messiah in Galilee (4-2 BCE) just as the Gospels portray the ministry of Jesus. This ministry of Jesus was telescoped into 1 to 3 years by the Gospel writers. The ministry of Judas [Robin Hood had a ministry?] lasted from 4 BCE to 19 CE or 22 [sic] years. This same telescoping of careers also applies to John the Baptist. The Gospels give John a ministry of 1-3 years while the Slavonic Josephus dates John from 6-36 CE, or 30 years.”
In Antiquities, Josephus referred to “James, the brother of Jesus who was called the Christ.” Ant. 20:200. He added “called the Christ” to distinguish Jesus/Joshua from the nearly two dozen mentions of men with the same name in his account. [44.]
Aside from the fact that Christians referred to James as the “the Lord’s brother” Gal. 1:19, Robert Eisenman, one of the Author’s crucial sources, corroborates the authenticity of this particular passage:
“It is through the person of James, who is mentioned in a straight forward manner by his younger contemporary Josephus, that we have the most compelling testimony to the existence of his brother Jesus, whether one takes the name Jesus symbolically or literally…aside from the fact that little could be gained by such an insertion, the reference is convincing enough and fits in with what we know about James ideologically and historically from other sources.” [45.]
Amplification of this dry testimony regarding the legitimacy of the second “Jesus passage” follows:
“This leads to a third significant point: the way the text identifies James is not likely to have come from a Christian hand or even a Christian source. Neither the NT nor early Christian writers spoke of James of Jerusalem in a matter-of-fact way as “the brother of Jesus” (ho adelphos lesou), but rather – with the reverence we would expect – ‘the brother of the Lord’ (ho adelphos tou kyriou) or ‘the brother of the Savior’ (ho adelphos tou soteros). Paul, who was not overly fond of James, calls him ‘the brother of the Lord’ in Gal 1:19 and no doubt is thinking especially of him when he speaks of “the brothers of the Lord” in 1 Cor 9:5. Hegesippus, the second-century church historian who was a Jewish convert and probably hailed from Palestine, likewise speaks of ‘James, the brother of the Lord’ (in Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History 2.23.4); indeed, Hegesippus also speaks of certain other well-known Palestinian Christians as ‘a cousin of the Lord’ (4.22.4), ‘the brothers of the Savior’ (3.32.5), and ‘his [the Lord's] brother according to the flesh (3.20.1). The point of all this is that Josephus’ designation of James as ‘the brother of Jesus’ squares neither with NT nor with early patrisic usage, and so does not likely come from the hand of a Christian interpolator.”
“Fifth, there is also the glaring difference between the long, legendary, and edifying (for Christians) account from Hegesippus and the short, matter-of-fact statement of Josephus, who is interested in the illegal behavior of Ananus, not the faith and virtue of James. In fact, Josephus never tells us why James was the object of Ananus, wrath, unless being the ‘brother of Jesus-who-is-called-Messiah’ is thought to be enough of a crime. Praise of James is notably lacking; he is one victim among several, not a glorious martyr dying alone in the spotlight. Also telling is the swipe at the ‘heartless’ or ‘ruthless’ Sadducees by the pro-Pharisaic Josephus; indeed, Josephus’ more negative view of the Sadducees is one of the notable shifts from The Jewish War that characterize The Antiquities. In short, it is not surprising that the great Josephus scholar Louis L. Feldman notes: ‘…few have doubted the genuineness of this passage on James.’” [46.]
Josephus, therefore, undoubtedly mentions the brother of Jesus, James, yet neglects to unequivocally identify him as the brother of Judas the G., Galilean or Gaulonite. Josephus also mention sons and grandsons of Judas the Galilean, and names the bandit Hezekiah as his father [47.] What happened to Joseph the Carpenter in the Unterbrink universe? Just a thought.
Under the weight of the Testimonium Flavianum, the first “Jesus passage”, The Author’s false teaching that the historical Jesus was in fact Judas the Galilean collapses like a house of cards built upon a foundation of shifting sand. The non-capitalized words are considered to be the actual text. Capitalized words are thought to be interpolations.
Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man IF IT BE LAWFUL TO CALL HIM A MAN, for he was a doer of wonders, A TEACHER OF SUCH MEN AS RECEIVE THE TRUTH WITH PLEASURE. He drew many after him BOTH OF THE JEWS AND THE GENTILES. HE WAS THE CHRIST. When Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men among us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him, FOR HE APPEARED TO THEM ALIVE AGAIN THE THIRD DAY, AS THE DIVINE PROPHETS HAD FORETOLD THESE AND THEN THOUSAND OTHER WONDERFUL THINGS ABOUT HIM, and the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day (Antiquities 18:63-64).
“Professor Shlomo Pines found a different version of Josephus’ testimony in an Arabic version of the tenth century. It has obviously not been interpolated in the same way as the Christian version circulating in the West:”
At this time there was a wise man who was called Jesus, and his conduct was good, and he was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. And those who had become his disciples did not abandon their loyalty to him. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion, and that he was alive. Accordingly they believed that he was the Messiah, concerning whom the Prophets have recounted wonders. [48.]
The Author’s confirmed belief regarding the Testimonium evidence: it is a “replacement passage for the crucifixion of Judas the Galilean…”; it is an “obvious counterfeit passage…” “Did Josephus write this? The answer is no. There are too many arguments against its authenticity.” Actually, the answer is yes and no.
“Opinion on the authenticity of this passage is varied. Louis H. Feldman surveyed the relevant literature from 1937 to 1980 in Josephus and Modern Scholarship. Feldman noted that 4 scholars regarded the Testimonium Flavianum as entirely genuine, 6 as mostly genuine, 20 accept it with some interpolations, 9 with several interpolations, and 13 regard it as being totally an interpolation.
In my own reading of thirteen books since 1980 that touch upon the passage, ten out of thirteen argue the Testimonium to be partly genuine, while the other three maintain it to be entirely spurious. Coincidentally, the same three books also argue that Jesus did not exist. In one book, by Freke and Gandy, the authors go so far as to state that no ‘serious scholar’ believes that the passage has authenticity (p. 137), which is a serious misrepresentation indeed.” [49.]
“The one passage about Jesus, in Ant. 18.63-64, is an obvious interpolation, according to a majority of scholars.”
After examining the historical and the textual evidence concerning the Testimonium Flavianum, Steve Mason, University of York, concluded: “It would be unwise, therefore, to rely heavily on Josephus’ statements about Jesus’ healing and teaching activity, or the circumstances of his trial. Nevertheless, since most of those who know the evidence agree that he said something about Jesus, one is probably entitled to cite him as independent evidence that Jesus actually lived, if such evidence were needed. But that much is already given in Josephus’ reference to James (Ant.20:200) and most historians agree that Jesus’ existence is the only adequate explanation of the many independent traditions among the NT writings.” [50.]
Josephus’ purpose in writing Antiquities was to attach legitimacy to the Jewish religion within the Roman world. He described the Sadducees (Epicureans), the Pharisees (Stoics), the Essenes (Pythagoreans), and characterized them as “philosophical schools” to make these contentious sects (haireseis) amenable to Hellenistic culture. [51.] He was particularly fond of the Essenes. According to Josephus, the virtue of the Essenes was “unmatched” by other Jews or Gentiles. They were “the most philosophical of all the Jews, sharing everything in common, living peaceful and disciplined lives, and accordingly having powers of healing and prophecy.” [52.] The ethics and practices of the Essenes parallel the practices and ethics of Jesus and James: “But above all things, my beloved, do not swear, neither by heaven or by earth, or by any other oath: but let your ‘Yes be yes’, and your No be no’; so that you may not fall under condemnation.” Jas. 5:12; Mt. 5:33-37. [53.] “They are eminent for fidelity, and are the ministers of peace; whatsoever they say also is firmer than an oath; but swearing is avoided by them, and they esteem it worse than perjury for they say that he who cannot be believed without [swearing by] God is already condemned.” J.W. 2.135.
Essenes also believed in the resurrection of the body, which would become immortal, like the soul.
Additionally, like the Essenes, first century Christian believers referred to themselves as “The Way.” Act 9:2, 19:9, 24:14. They also adopted the Essene practice of fasting on Wednesdays and Saturdays, the Sabbath. [54.] In First Thessalonians, Paul wrote: “But you, beloved, are not in darkness, for that day to surprise you like a thief; for you are all sons [variant children] of light, and sons of the day; we are not of the night, nor of darkness. So then let us not fall asleep, as others do, but, let us keep awake and be sober, for those who sleep, sleep at night: and those who are drunk get drunk at night.” I Thess. 5:4-8. Essenes referred to themselves as Sons of Light. Finally, like their Essene contemporaries, Christians shared shared a communal meal. J.W. 2.128-133 84.
“At that same hour Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit, and said, ‘I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent, and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father; for such was your gracious will.’” Lk 10:21; Mt. 11:25, 26. Part of the Dead Sea Scrolls, this Thanksgiving Hymn, “Lord of heaven and earth…” is found in the Genesis Apocryphon, 22.21 (1Qap Gen), written in Aramaic, [55.], the language of Jesus: Mk. 3:17, 5:41, 7:34, 14:36, 15:35. [56.]
New members of the Essenes swore an oath “to ‘keep faith with all men, especially with the powers that be since no ruler attains his office save by the will of God.’” [57.] Paul wrote: “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities; for there is no authority except from God; and those authorities that do exist have been instituted by God.” Rom. 13:1. Pharisees, part of the Jewish establishment, were not disposed to revolt. [58.]
These preceding facts do not break new ground, however, they can not be dismissed per the Author. At the least, Judean Christianity was influenced strongly by the Essenes and “pose[d] no political threat.” [59.] “My kingdom is not of this world.” Jn. 18:26 [60.] Perhaps Jesus and John the Baptist were influenced by Judas the Galilean, but as Wisdom’s messenger, Col. 1:15-17; Mt. 11:25-27; Lk. 10:22, [61.] He recognized the truth: the Lord God would not intervene to destroy the Romans and restore Jewish sovereignty. Individual sovereignty within the Kingdom of God remains more important. Lk. 17: 20, 21, Gal. 5:16, 21 cf. Gos. Thom. 3, 46. Just a thought.
Armed resistance was futile. “The nonviolent protestors had some success in forcing the Romans to back down on particular issues; the violent protestors, whether rioting masses, prophetic figures, or guerilla warriors, had none whatsoever. In the cases we know of, the Romans effectively, and ruthlessly destroyed those who preached or practiced violence against them.” [62.]
Perhaps the most avid doctrine purveyed by the Author, which wraps his theories into a neat bow without the theory of verisimilitude, concerns the “Fourth Philosophy” founded by Judas the Galilean. In his ideological mind, the Fourth Philosophy stands as Jewish Christianity: “…I believe that Josephus was obsessed with Jewish Christianity, but it was designated [deliberately, to deceive whom?] the Fourth Philosophy.”
“In essence, the Jewish Christians and the Fourth Philosophy were one in [sic] the same group.”
“But of the fourth sect of Jewish philosophy, Judas the Galilean was the author. These men agree in all other things with the Pharisaic notions; but they have an inviolable attachment to liberty, and say that God is to be their only Ruler and Lord. They also do not value dying any kinds of death, nor indeed do they heed the deaths of their relations and friends, nor can any such fear make them call any man lord. And since this immovable resolution of theirs is well known to a great many, I shall speak no further about that matter; nor am I afraid that any thing I have said of them should be disbelieved, but rather fear, that what I have said is beneath the resolution they show when they undergo pain. And it was in Gessius Florus’s time [AD 64 – AD 66] that the nation began to grow mad with this distemper, who was our procurator, and who occasioned the Jews to go wild with it by the abuse of his authority, and to make them revolt from the Romans. And these are the sects of Jewish philosophy.” Ant.18.1.6. Josephus never associates Judas the G. with the Essenes, or non-violence.
Moreover, “…the leaders of these major uprisings assigned by Josephus to the later years of Herod [37 BC – 4 BC] and Archaelus [23 BC – AD c. 18 ] were messianic, i.e., royal, claimants and pretenders, whereas leaders of movements during and after the time of Jesus are usually characterized in prophetic terms.” [63.]
“And the multitude said: this is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.” Mt. 21:11; Mk. 6:15; Lk. 7:16; Jn. 4:19; Acts 3:22; Deut.18:15
According to Eisenman, Judas the Galilean was not from Galilee but hailed from the area of the Golan Heights; he was a Gaulonite. Yesua ben Yusef was not from Nazareth either. Jesus of Nazareth was a Nazoraean, a Nazirite, a person dedicated to God. [64.] Nazareth is not mentioned in the Old Testament.
During the reign of Claudius, AD 41 – AD 54, Jews were expelled from Rome. Acts 18:2.
“On at least two occasions, under Tiberius [AD 14 – AD 37] and Claudius, Jews were deported from Rome, and on the second of these occasions, the unrest may well have been a result of schismatic struggles with the Christians and the first great persecution specifically directed against Christians broke out in Rome in AD 64. The problem of Jewish disorders in Rome, was, however a criminal problem; in Palestine it had become a political issue.” [65.]
Clearly, in Rome, Christians were distinguished from Jews at an early date. The word Christianoi is Greek but its root is Latin. “More often than not such labels were applied by outsiders.” Romans in Palestine apparently did not recognize the Judas cult as a distinct movement in situ; unlike Luke in Acts, Josephus provides no details about the missionary journeys of Judas the G.’s disciples. Writing at Rome in the last decade of the century, Josephus’ use of “Christian” in Antiquities is the “earliest datable reference” to the new religion in ancient literature. [66.]
The author’s authoritative great link of fanciful Messianic coincidences or “curious events” between the Son of God and the brigand now lies broken into disparate fragments. Tradition posits that Christians were first recognized as distinct from Jews at Antioch, Acts 11:26, not in Judea:
“Judas preached this Kingdom of Heaven throughout Judea and Galilee and gained quite a following. The census of AD 6-7 may have accelerated his plans.”
“…Judas intertwined the beliefs of the Pharisees with the practices of the Essenes.”
“The genius of Judas the Galilean was his ability to combine the best of competing movements to his own advantage.”
“The genius of Judas was his willingness to include others, to absorb their ideas and to create a new philosophy with a healthy hatred of Rome. In fact, if there was a competition for souls the Fourth Philosophy had the upper hand; they preached a message which encompassed the beliefs of the Pharisees and Essenes but also gave their followers a glimmer of hope concerning their present lives – liberation from Rome.”
As adduced above, these three books are a farrago of distortion, outright error and pseudo-truth. To become an Essene, a probationary period was required. J.W. 2.137-138. No evidence exists that Judas the Gaulonite ever learned the tenets of the Essenes from personal experience or this brigand was accepted into the Essene brotherhood. The same can be said for Jesus of Nazareth with the qualification that He and his followers exhibited Essene behavior. Finally, the Author follows the line of reasoning presented in his restricted and partisan sources, e.g. Ellegard, that because few details about the earthly life of Jesus are known, it is doubtful He existed.
“Paul…did not champion the idea of a flesh and blood Jesus.”
This avenue of argument represents the shallow analysis and limited knowledge of an ideologue who erects boundaries around his mind that limit the light of truth. “Little or nothing can be said with certitude or high probability about the birth, infancy, and early years of the vast majority of historical figures in the ancient Mediterranean world. In the exceptional cases of towering figures like Alexander the Great or the emperor Octavian Augustus, some facts were preserved, though even these were interwoven with legendary and mythical motifs.” [67.] Thucydides never mentioned Socrates, Plato’s teacher. Does this mean the seminal philosopher never existed? Josephus never mentioned the Great Fire at Rome, therefore it never happened?
“The experience of the first Christian congregations, inseparably associated with first-hand contact with Jesus and later, through the memoria Jesu, with a continuing fellowship with the Lord, is therefore the matrix of the New Testament as a written text. And thanks to that, the earliest Christian congregations, with their experience, are historically accessible to us; they afford, at a historical level, the most reliable access to Jesus of Nazareth.” [68.]
Disagreement regarding the Torah/Law and its application to Gentile converts, not Christology, the touchstone of Messianism, between Paul and the Jerusalem Church led by James, is certain. In the final analysis, Christianity is rooted in Judaism (Eph. 2): repentance, grace, faith, the Messiah. Seeking the Kingdom of God means overcoming human nature. The “golden rule” — “In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.” Mt 7:12; Lk. 6:31 — is applicable to the human condition in all cultures throughout the centuries, especially the texting saggy pants generation. Consistently, the gospels relate that the disciples deserted Jesus when he was arrested yet they overcame their human nature, fear, and reassembled to proclaim the good news about the Risen Christ.
Where is any explicit evidence for these conclusions by the Arthur about the congruent relationship between the Fourth Philosophy and Jewish Christianity within the writings of Josephus? These fissaparous propositions exist only in the solipsistic mind of the Author, who finds his corroborating (or lack thereof) information in the New Testament. Jews like Judas the G. in the first century expected the corporate salvation of Israel (cf. Acts 1:6) while Christianity taught that through faith in Jesus Christ, individual salvation and eternal life were obtainable. Eternal life means quality of life rather than a quantity that extends into immortality. [69.] Repentance, II Cor. 7:10, and grace, Eph. 2:8, 9; Acts 15:11; Titus 2:11, lead to salvation and faith: cf. Acts 11:18, 23, 24. “Salvation in the NT is ‘total salvation.’ It saves a man body and soul.” [70.] Salvation, well-being, involves the love of truth II Thess. 2:10, which is the word of God, I Thess. 2:14, and includes faith: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while, you have to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith – being more precious than gold, that, though perishable, is tested by fire – may be found to result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Although you have not seen him you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him now and rejoice with an indescribable joy, for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of souls.” I Pet. 1:7-10; II Tim. 3:15.
The original Christian community expected the parousia of the Risen Christ, I Cor. 16:22; Jas. 5:7; Acts 3:19-26, as the Son of Man: Mt. 10:23; Lk.12:8-10. Paul’s expectation that Jesus would soon return (I Thess. 4:14-16) was unrealized, which he acknowledged might not occur in his own lifetime: Phil. 1:20-23. Luke reaffirmed the parousia by delaying it until the world had been evangelized. [71.] “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in him should may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Those who believe in him are not judged; but those who do not believe have been condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather that the light, because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God. ” Jn. 3:17-21.
“Awake, sleeper, and arise from among the dead, and Christ will enlighten you.”
“…you do well that you take heed, as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns, and the day star arises in your hearts.”
“For concerning those who were once enlightened and tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit…”
“Repent therefore of this, your wickedness, and ask God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you.”
“And because you are children, God sent out the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, ‘Abba, Father!’”
To change your mind, means a change of heart. The Greeks understood the circulatory system better than the nervous system; Stoics in particular considered the heart to be the seat of consciousness.
“The promised nearness of God in his sovereign grace is a present fact in Jesus; but it is also a future reality. After his rejection and death, the same sovereign grace which men experienced in his historical presence becomes present in the kerygma, which replaces the historical Jesus. The hope that will finally prevail over all mankind is outstanding and looks to the future fulfillment. In the teaching of Jesus the sovereign act of God’s grace – the kingdom of God – is both present and future, realized and outstanding.” [72.]
Healings that Jesus performed, e.g. Mk.1:34; Mt. 12:9; Lk.11:14-21, were demonstrations of grace and brought about salvation, physical well-being, to the afflicted. The Son of God’s words lead to eternal life: Jn. 6:68; Mk. 2:22, 10:17; Lk. 6:27-40, 10:25-38, 18:18. Jesus lives as the archēgos, pioneer of your salvation: Heb. 2:10.
Christianity does have issues in the 21st century, because it failed in the fourth century, when orthodox beliefs prevailed over repentance (Lk. 15:4-10 cf. I Clem. 8:1) as metanoia, the avoidance of sin, which separates the individual from God. Creeds, right beliefs, became more important than right actions. Salvation does not derive from a declaration of faith in the Savior, a confession, Acts 9:20, but from God-given grace. Fearing the end of the world, whether it derives from speculation about the December 21, 2012 date from the secular Mayan calendar or the Revelation of John, snares the Body of Christ with fear. The final book in the New Testament has limited value. Even the ancients knew the Fourth Evangelist, an apostle, did not write the words of the prophecy in this book… Rev. 22:18. [73.]
The Trinity does not exist as an ontological object of mystery. Father, Son, and Spirit function in unity, revealing Truth, Jn. 16:13, to empower individuals in a life of world service: Lk. 24:49; Acts 1:8. [74.] People make the mistake of seeking the Higher Power in the supernatural, the miraculous: God – Who can be discerned in daily life – the warmth of the sun, the color of a tulip, the smile of a child, being in the right place at the right time, finding that special someone. Stranded and hungry, perhaps homeless, a person standing with a sign at the exit, who receives money from you: a miracle in that’s person’s day.
The eschatological prophet through His sui generis Spiritual relationship with God, demonstrated the power of God, by the Spirit, to inaugurate understanding of the Kingdom’s implicit presence within each individual’s daily life. An individual relationship with God is an inverse proportional relationship with your neighbor.
Through the ultimate outcome of Alexander the Great’s campaigns, the one true God of History (Salamis, Metraus River, Aetius, Charles the Hammer, Lepanto) brought about the acceleration of Hellenism throughout the eastern Mediterranean world. Armed with the gladius, organization, discipline, and engineering skill, the legions established Pax Romana, which served to create optimum conditions for the spread of Christianity, the force for History. Judaism provided the intellectual milieu to explain the life of the Utterance (Word) of God in time and space: Christ, prophet, Son of God, Logos, Lord. In the Epistle to the Philippians, the pre-Pauline “Christ Hymn” (2:6-11) contrasts the First Adam, who was condemned, with the exalted Second Adam. [75.]
“Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God and that through believing you may have life in his name.” Jn. 20:31, 31. Through their daily lives, individuals compile their own history. In the after-life, John Galt will find himself a stranger in a strange land, that Unknown Country, out of place…actions still speak louder than ideology or creeds: Jn. 5:29; II Cor. 5:10.
The earliest Christians, including the New Testament writers, were more concerned about the function of Jesus—what his life, death, and resurrection accomplished—than with speculation about his metaphysical nature…the passion of what Jesus taught would take second place in favor of dogmatics.
Instead of behaving as servants, the episcopal monarchs became benefactors and empahsized Christology rather than repentance. Orthodoxy replaced virtue: II Pet. 1:4-10. Bishops can no longer fulfill the role of the examplerion, put forth by Ignatius of Antioch.
There is no record of the Romans crucifying anyone except Jesus Christ, with a crown of thorns.
Today, if we see someone’s shadow or reflection, we rightly deduce that they must be present, even if we cannot see them directly. By the same token, first-century witnesses of the Shrould would have deduced from the figure that Jesus was present, even though he was otherwise unseen.
Turin Shroud ‘was created by flash of supernatural light’: It couldn’t be a medieval forgery, say scientists
The image on the Turin Shroud could not be the work of medieval forgers but was instead caused by a supernatural ‘flash of light’, according to scientists.
Italian researchers have found evidence that casts doubt on claims that the relic – said to be the burial cloth of Jesus – is a fake and they suggest that it could, after all, be authentic.
Sceptics have long argued that the shroud, a rectangular sheet measuring about 14ft by 3ft, is a forgery dating to medieval times.
Scientists from Italy’s National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development spent years trying to replicate the shroud’s markings.
They have concluded only something akin to ultraviolet lasers – far beyond the capability of medieval forgers – could have created them.
This has led to fresh suggestions that the imprint was indeed created by a huge burst of energy accompanying the Resurrection of Christ.
‘The results show a short and intense burst of UV directional radiation can colour a linen cloth so as to reproduce many of the peculiar characteristics of the body image on the Shroud of Turin,’ the scientists said.
The image of the bearded man on the shroud must therefore have been created by ‘some form of electromagnetic energy (such as a flash of light at short wavelength)’, their report concludes. But it stops short of offering a non-scientific explanation.
Re: Caesar’s Messiah – was Jesus a satire
by TimONeill » Oct 04, 2010 10:32 am
Shuggy wrote:In Caesar’s Messiah Joseph Atwill posits that the Gospels were concocted by the Flavians, and Christianity as we know it imposed on an anti-Roman Jewish movement. The clue is that Jesus’ life has many parallels with the life and campaigns of Titus.
The entire book is online at this link:
http://www.esnips.com/doc/b67761f4-ecd2-423a-93a0-0ff2b9eb6149/Joseph-Atwill—Caesars-Messiah—The-Roman-Conspiracy-to-Invent-Jesus I’ve only started reading it, but I don’t think it should be dismissed out of hand. Atwill himself is unhappy if it will harm Christianity, implying he’s been convinced against his will (though that always sounds good).
Yes it does – it’s a ploy apologists use all the time: “I started out as a sceptic but the more I looked the more clear it became to me … Blah blah blah.” Atwill’s theory is one of the sillier ones at the kooky end of the Jesus Myther spectrum. It’s in the same kook basket as Carotta (Jesus = Julius Caesar) and Unterbrink (Jesus = Judas the Galilean). There are a couple more like them around, including Jesus = Herod Philip and Jesus = Herod Agrippa.
They all take pretty much the same tack: (i) make a big deal about the fact that there isn’t much evidence of Jesus outside the Bible, (ii) note some vague parallels between some elements of their chosen “real” Jesus and the Jesus in the gospels (this requites some creativity and twisty thinking) (iii) invent a crazy conspiracy theory about who turned their guy into Jesus and why and (iv) triumphantly conclude that Jesus was “really” their chosen guy and that no-one had noticed this until they came along to reveal it unto the world in their crappy little book.
These nutters keeps self-publishing companies in business …
Paul invented the Jesus of the Gospels, but Judas’ followers created the Resurrection to keep his story alive. Right.
And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, declared the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, ‘All the Gentiles shall be blessed in you.’
I challenge ministers, clergy, historians and the common lay members to read and closely examine my arguments. If they can find error, I will withdraw my hypothesis.
Eric Lomax, River Kwai Prisoner Who Forgave, Dies at 93
Eric Lomax, left, in 1998 with Nagase Takashi, his chief wartime tormentor. The two met again at the River Kwai, Thailand.
‘You have nothing to fear.’ ‘There is nothing you can do wrong.’ The message flooded me with a vast and crazy sensation of relief.(Photo illustration by Newsweek; Source: Buena Vista Images-Getty Images)
08 July 2013 2:49pm
@quaregunk 08 July 2013 12:55pm. Get cifFix for Chrome.
New atheists have no new ideas, just centuries-old ideas now bolstered by massive amounts of scientific evidence that tell us those old ideas were rather prescient.
What new atheists don’t get is that it’s not a scientific question; the fact that they try to make it so is the clearest indication of the poverty of their intellectual understanding and the (unconscious) tyranny of their behaviour.
What I find laughable – if it wasn’t potentially tragic – is that new atheists believe that they have the big answer to all existential problems i.e. reclassify them as scientific problems susceptible to rational resolution and extirpate the need for religion (and if that fails then you can be sure the next step is ban them and repress the religious. The definition of religion will of course grow and grow).
What I think new atheism reveals is a sense of intellectual and political desperation that the Enlightenment creed is failing in a myriad ways and like zealots they believe the answer is to intensify the attack on the original enemy and once and for all defeat it. In my opinion this unwittingly places new atheists in the camp of the hegemonic class who from are heading towards the same ultimate destination – it’s called totalitarianism
1. Biblical quotations are from The New Oxford Annotated Bible. “Serious historians of the early Christian movement — all of them — have spent many years preparing to be experts in their field. Just to read the ancient sources requires expertise in a range of ancient languages: Greek, Hebrew, Latin, and often Aramaic, Syriac, and Coptic, not to mention the modern languages of scholarship (for example, German and French). Bart D. Ehrman, Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth: (New York: Harper One, 2012), 4. The Author is a retired accountant.
2. “…it is possible that the Christians followed the Essene sect’s practices in regard to common property. The situation seems to have been that they were making sure that no one was in need. Property was sold and turned into coin when there was need for funds to feed especially the poor in the community.” Ben Witherington III, New Testament History: A Narrative Account, (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2003), 183.
3. Steve Mason, Josephus and the New Testament, (Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Publishers, 2003), 165, 166.
4. Larry Hurtado, Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Early Christianity, (Grand Rapids and Cambridge: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2003), 491.
5. “Moreover, Paul’s recitation of early tradition in I Corinthians 11:23-26 indicates that the cultic significance of Jesus in the meal was not a Pauline innovation, but stemmed from earlier Christian circles.” Ibid., 146; Ebionites, the most Jewish of Christians, who rejected Paul and the redemptive sacrifice of the Crucifixion, “bequeathed to Christianity many of its permanent institutions, including baptism and the Lord’s Supper…” Marshall D. Johnson, The Evolution Of Christianity: Twelve Crises That Shaped The Church, (New York: Continuum,2005), 23. For a valuable book that explains clearly and concisely Christian controversies, this book is recommended.
6. F.E. Peters, The Harvest of Hellenism: A History of the Near East from Alexander the Great to the Triumph of Christianity, (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1970), 456.
7. Ibid. Peters, 475 – 479. See also Ehrman, 227.
8. Hurtado, 516, 517; The Pastorals incline “toward the vocabulary of the imperial cult as a means for characterizing the munificent grace of God.” Sōter “is another term that shows a desire to speak in terms familiar to the general public.” Richard I. Pervo, Dating Acts: Between the Evangelists and the Apologists, (Santa Rosa, CA: Polebridge Press, 2006), 287, 288.
9. Robert Eisenman, James the Brother of Jesus: The Key to Unlocking the Secret of Early Christianity and the Dead Sea Scrolls, (New York: Viking, 1997), 244, 245.
10. James D. G. Dunn, Unity and Diversity in the New Testament: An Inquiry Into the Character of Earliest Christianity, (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1997), 251.
11. Edward Schillebeeckx, Jesus: An Experiment In Christology, Hubert Hoskins trans., (New York: The Seabury Press), 371 – 373, 751; “…Paul shared the common apocalyptic theology of the earliest congregations…he believed himself to the recipient of divine information in the same way as the great figures to whom the apocalypses are attributed.” R.G. Hammerton-Kelly, Pre-existence, Wisdom and the Son of Man, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1973), 103 – 105; Hurtado, 209 – 210.
12. Schillebeeckx, 223.
13. Hurtado, 126 – 133: see Rom. 1-5.
14. “…Paul tells of a mystical experience which describes as being ‘snatched up to the third heaven.’ There is an abundance of evidence to illuminate the idea of the ascent of the soul, or the whole person, in apocalyptic, rabbinic, Philonic and Hellenistic sources. It is not possible to say which tradition which stands behind the experience Paul recounts, nor is it important to do so….The important element to notice is that Paul minimizes, and even denigrates, this mystical experience (vs.11).” Hammerton-Kelly, 150, 151. See also Isa. 49:1 and Gal. 1:15.
15. Schillebeeckx, 221, 222, 235 – 240, 255; In the Gospel of Mark, the feeding of the multitudes, 6:30-44 and 8:1-9, revealed “Jesus as the special vehicle for God’s eschatological power.” Hurtado, 286.
16. Schillebeeckx, 251 – 253; “At Gal. 3:19-20 Paul endeavours to show the subordinate status of the Law by attributing it to angels and not to God. It was given by angels, through the mediator Moses, and so came only indirectly from God. Christ, however, comes directly from God. The presence of angels at the giving of the Law is well attested in rabbinic literature.” Hammerton-Kelly, 106 -108.
17. Schillebeeckx, 239 – 242.
18. “The parables, the Lord’s prayer and the preaching concerning the Kingdom probably constitute the core of the recoverable teaching of Jesus.” Hammerton-Kelly, 87.
19. Dunn, 13 – 15.
20. Schillebeeckx, 237. In His disciples’ memory, the teachings of Jesus had the authority of a divine spokesman. Hurtado, 221: Lk. 10:16.
21. Dunn, 248; “It has long been recognized that Matthew wants to portray Jesus as the ‘new Moses,’ and so it is no surprise to find that the things that happen to Jesus in Matthew closely parallel the Old Testament traditions about Moses.” Ehrman, 198.
22. Ibid., 249; “Matthew [in contrast to Mark] emphasized the identification of Jesus with Wisdom, because of his interest in presenting Jesus as the one who replaces Torah as the mode of God’s presence to men. The Torah had already been identified with Wisdom in the tradition.” Hammerton-Kelly, 97.
23. Hurtado, 88, 89 n24. For Paul, righteousness, or dikaiosyne, means “a positive relationship or good standing with God.”
24. Mark – 14; Matthew – 30; Luke – 25; John – 12. Hurtado, 19, 20, 291 – 293; “The reason why the Son of Man sayings, with two exceptions, all occur on the lips of Jesus in the Synoptic tradition [Matthew, Mark, Luke] is that Jesus in fact taught about himself as the Son of Man [which implied pre-existence], and this was remembered.” Hammerton-Kelly, 96, 100, 101.
25. John P. Meier, A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus, (New York and London: Doubleday, 1991), 46; Hammerton-Kelly, 144.
26. Hurtado, 173.
27. Meier, 217.
28. Hurtado, 102 – 108; see also 637.
29. Peters, 497.
30. Joseph H. Lynch, Early Christianity: A Brief History, (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), 124-129. Joe was my best friend.
31. Hurtado, 521; “Christianity took on a distinctive shape in each major locality to which it spread, and the resulting differences often erupted in conflict.” Johnson, xix.
32. Ibid., 650; “Gentile Christianity was not the creation of Paul; it was he, however, who provided it with its theoretical justification.” Peters, 493.
33. Malachi Martin, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Church, (New York: Putnam, 1981), 42 – 44.
34. “The relatively abundant data from North Africa — Egypt and Cyrene — indicate that the rebellion had a messianic character, and that it evoked and was eventually overcome by a corresponding polytheistic holy war. This vicious conflict produced casualties. In the early phases gentiles were massacred, and when the authorities got things in hand, there was a retaliatory slaughter of Jews.” Pervo, 310 – 311, 369 – 372.
35. Mason, 40 – 51.
36. Ibid., 185 – 235; The probability that Luke utilized Josephus or his sources increases when it is recognized that the Evangelist also used Mark, the Septuagint, “Q”, and Paul’s epistles. See Pervo, 51 – 147.
37. Jesus of Nazareth “envisaged a different revolution from that of Judas the Galilean. He was not advocating compromise with Rome; but nor was he advocating straightforward resistance of the sort that refuses to pay the tax today and sharpens its swords for battle tomorrow.” For a thorough discussion of the difference between the politics of Jesus Christ and Judas the G., see N.T. Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God, (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1996), 502 – 507.
38. “…the charge against Jesus did not require Jesus’ own messianic claim, but can in principle be accounted for as occasioned by messianic claims/hopes of Jesus’ followers and/or the settled conviction of the authorities that his activities provided the basis for such a charge…the governing authorities found their own good reasons to crucify him, and these reasons likely had to do with fears that he was being taken by his followers as a messianic figure.” Hurtado 56, 57.
39. Ibid., 59.
40. Schillebeeckx, 244; Matthew considered Jesus to be the “new Law” and the “eschatological judge.” Hammerton-Kelly, 101.
41. Schillebeeckx, 243 – 248.
42. Zealots: “…were the Jewish nationalists during the century before the Jewish war with Rome. Josephus in his Antiquities describes a ‘fourth philosophy,’ and while he nowhere mentions the name of the sect, scholars have generally assumed that he was describing the Zealots, crediting their founding to a certain Judas the Galilean….An important consideration here is that it is obvious from what Josephus has written that the word Zealot itself is not objectionable; it only became so when it was used by some who, in the eyes of Josephus, were prostituting the original concept of being zealous for the Lord or the Law.” Allen H. Jones, Essenes: The Elect of Israel and The Priests of Artemis, (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1985), 36, 37.
44. Meier, 206, 232.
45. Eisenman, 60.
46. Meier, 58, 59.
47. Eisenman, 627.
“It is no accident that virtually all mythicists (in fact, all of them, to my knowledge) are either atheists or agnostics. The ones I know anything about are quite virulently, even militantly, atheist. On the surface that may make sense: who else would be invested in showing Jesus never existed? But when you think about it for a moment, it is not entirely logical. Whether or not Jesus existed is completely irrelevant to the question of whether God exists.” Ehrman, 337.
50. Mason, 174, 175. See also: www.standpointmag.co.uk/jesus-in-the-eyes-of-josephus-features-jan-10-geza-vermes
For contrary opinion, see:
51. Peters, 328.
52. Mason, 134, 222.
53. “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart [“mind”: see Mt. 9:4] be also.” Mt. 6:19-21; “Come now, you rich people, weep and wail for the miseries that are coming to you. Your riches have rotted, and your clothes are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust shall be evidence against you, and it will eat your flesh as fire. You have laid up treasure for the last days.” Jas. 5:3.
54. Alvar Ellegard, Jesus: One Hundred Years Before Christ, (New York:Overlook Press, 1999), 53, 167; “According to Josephus, those that become Essenes must be Jews by birth, a statement that also finds support in the Community Rule (J.W. 2:119/1QS 6:13 – 14)”.
Kenneth E. Bailey Th.d, posits that Jesus’ declaration of his messianic mission (Lk. 4:16-31 ; cf. Is. 61) can be located in two documents that compose the Dead Sea Scrolls: 4Q278; 4Q521. This would constitute another direct Christian link to the Essenes and disqualify Judas the G. as the source for the “Jesus myth”. Kenneth E. Bailey, Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes: Cultural Studies In The Gospels, (Downer’s Groove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2008), 149, 150, f.
55. Meier, 264.
56. Ibid., 178.
57. Mason, 62; J.W. 2:140.
58. Ibid., 135.
59. Ibid., 146, 202.
60. See also H.E. 3.19.20.
61. Dunn, 221.
62. Bart Ehrman, The New Testament: A Historical Introduction To The Early Christian Writings, (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), 215; “…Jesus’ parable [Lk. 6: 46-49; cf. I Cor 3:16.] is based on Isaiah’s parable [Isa. 28:14-18]. Like Isaiah, Jesus knew that a great storm was on the way in the form of Zealot nationalists who were gathering strength, and cut off from reality they thought thy could fight Rome and win. Jesus foresaw disaster and knew that they woud fail [as they did].” Bailey, Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes, 328, 329.
63. Pervo, 156.
64. Eisenman 249 – 251; Num. 6:1-21.; Critics of Christianity and mythicists deny the existence of Nazareth to dispute the historical life of Jesus of Nazareth. Recent archaeological evidence indeed posits that a hamlet known as Nazareth existed 2,000 years ago. See Ehrman, 191 – 197. In my view, however, it is likely that the gospel writers confused “Nazorean” or Nazarite with Nazareth, since Jesus was from Galilee. Paul never employs Jesus of Nazareth in his extant epistles. Moreover, the oldest gospel, does not refer to Jesus of Nazareth and mentions once that “Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee…” Mk. 1:9 cf. Jn. 18:5, 19:19. For corroboration, please see the Shroud of Turin graphic.
65. Peters, 513.
66. Pervo, 290, 291.
67. Meier, 288.
68. Schilleebeckx, 47.
69. See William Barclay, New Testament Words, (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1974), 33 – 41.
70. Ibid., 274.
71. Dunn, 347.
72. Hammerton-Kelly, 89.
73. H.E. 7.25.
74. Hurtado, 396 – 400.
75. Arthur Dewey et. al., The Authentic Letters of Paul: A New Reading of Paul’s Rhetoric and Meaning, (Salem OR: Polebridge Press, 2011), 193 – 196
76. Johnson, 52, 58.
77. Thomas De Wesselow, The Sign: The Shroud of Turin and the Secret of the Resurrection, ( New York: Dutton, 2012), 149, 210.
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