Modern Israeli archaeology reveals the history and socio-political context of the Middle East in the first quarter of the first millennium and in so doing we discover, then as now, deep divisions within Hebrew culture.
Those divisions had given rise to hundreds of years of bloody civil war, much as we see in the Middle East today.
Most independent biblical scholars agree that only 18% of the words attributed to Christ were likely spoken by the Jesus of History and there the story might have ended.
However, using forensic textual analysis and historical context we ask of those original sayings ‘what did they mean to the speaker and, more importantly, what were they supposed to mean to the intended audience.
Within those sayings, we have discovered a stream of Hebrew thought and spirituality entirely distinct from, but at the same time congruous with, the Judean religious and cultural dogma that gave rise to Rabbinical Judaism in the early centuries of the first millennium.
That unique stream of Hebrew thought, expressed by the Jesus of History, grew in the fertile soil of Galilee and the Jezreel Valley and eventually gave birth to the Kabbalah in Southern France during the 12th Century. That particularly Galilean philosophical paradigm was eventually absorbed into the nascent Hassidic movement.
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In 2009, a first century synagogue was found in Magdala on the shores of the Sea of Galalee.
The ‘Magdala Stone’ had been placed at the centre of that hall.
The images engraved into that stone hint at a spiritual lexicon far removed from the Judean cult of animal sacrifice. They speak of a form of Hebrew spirituality that had long been persecuted and repressed by the Judeans.
Those images can be decoded through the words of the Jesus of History.
The Jesus of History often taught using closed statements, which directly challenge the logic and preconceived ideas of his students, much as Zen Koans push the student to a direct experience of reality through insight. This system is used where binary language fails to offer a medium of expression or where the logical mind becomes an impediment.
Luke 17:21 is echoed and expanded upon in the Gospel of Thomas:
“Neither shall they say it is here or it is there for the Kingdom of God is within you!’
The King James Bible translates the Greek word ‘Entos’ correctly as ‘within you’ but it has become fashionable, within Calvinist seminaries, to mistranslate this line as ‘in the midst of’ and this is a clear fraud that misdirects the student entirely and makes it effectively impossible to understand the profundity of these teachings, hence the continuing confusion.
The Greek word used elsewhere in the text (Luke 22:55) for ‘in the midst’ is ‘Mesos’ and does not appear in any Greek text for Luke 17:21.
The Hebrew concept of Malchut Elohim (Kingdom of God) is expressed in the Shema, which all Jews say daily, that states ‘God is One’. This concept is echoed in the Hebrew understanding of His name (All that ever was, is or will ever be).
Without reference to the written and oral Hebrew traditions it would be easy to believe that the ‘Kingdom of God’ implies an apocalyptic vision. But this, often made mistake, inevitably lead us to entirely contradict the corpus of the sayings of the Jesus of History.
So why the fraud? The Church doesn’t want you to go ‘in’ toward God! They want you to go ‘out’ toward ‘Christ’ and to do that you have to go through them!
For more on this subject please see our blog.
Between the Greco-Roman ‘Christ’ myth and the rise of Rabbinical Judaism the entire history of the Hebrew people, prior to the first century CE, has been effectively whitewashed. According to both, highly partisan, sources there was only ever ‘one kind of Jew’.
Professor Israel Finkelstein, amongst others, has put the reality back into the archaeology of Israel’s ancient history and we can now clearly see that the divisions between Israel and Judah, throughout their history, were as profound and as contentious as those between England and France.
Without understanding the socio-political, cultural and religious differences between these two ancient enemies and sometimes friends it is impossible to understand the context and significance of the Jesus of History.
After 10 years of research, author Antonio Sebastian explores the Q-Sayings hidden in the Gospels and their parallels in the Dead Sea Scrolls to find the original words of the Jesus of history and trace their uniquely Hebrew paradigm from the first century up to the modern day.
Where biblical scholars and literal translations have failed, Antonio succeeds in tracing the uniquely Hebrew philosophical world view, as expressed by the Jesus of History, and demonstrates how that teaching evolved and was eventually subsumed into Rabbinical Judaism and eventually gave birth to the Hassidic Movement.