death and zombies

Genesis: Death and Zombies.

Genesis: Death and Zombies.

Christians, Muslims and Jews often miss a very important point, the Bible doesn’t say very much about death – certainly not enough to support three religions. In a video lecture entitled ‘Five Big Words from Genesis that shaped Ancient Hebrew Thought’, Professor James Tabor made a very interesting point: that when Genesis says you´re dead, you stay dead and he’s right – or is he?

In fact, when you start looking, it is obvious that the writers of Genesis were very careful exactly how much they said, or didn’t say, about death. Why you may ask!

Well Hebrew spirituality wasn’t born in a vacuum. As it turns out, Genesis was written as a visceral rejection of the Egyptian class-based obsession with death. In many ways the Egyptian religion was a death cult; it was only the rich who got to live beyond death. The Hebrew people wrote the Torah to put the story straight.

But here’s the thing, you can’t read the book of Genesis literally – you can’t take what it says at face value. How do I know?

Because Genesis tells you, right at the beginning, that you must look deeper than the words. The Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki ) noted, in 11th Century France, that the first word of Genesis, b’reshit, cannot be explained – it shouldn’t be there.

Which begs the question, why does the oldest, most accurately, and most often, copied book in the world contain a grammatical error in the first word that is untranslatable and is obviously a grammatical mess.

Rabbi Jeff Goldwasser wrote a wonderful blog on this subject that you can read HERE and he renders the words (B’reishit bara Elohim)  thus: “In the beginning of the beginning that is always beginning, God created the creation that is still.”

I would argue that the Elohist writer of Genesis 1 put this grammatical error into the text at precisely this point because he is telling the reader, right at the beginning, to look deeper than the text. Please bear this in mind as we proceed.

Before humans are even mentioned in Genesis, the writer makes it clear that even fish are alive (hai’yah – a thing that has life) and it is the Nephesh of that fish that has life. What is the Nephesh you may ask – where does it come from? It has often been translated as ‘Soul’ but this is problematic. When we say ‘Soul’ people think of an invisible ‘you’ that exists eternally; this is a view familiar to Greeks and to Hindus but this was precisely not what the Hebrews were saying. The word Nephesh ‘kind-of’ means breath and humans have the same Nephesh as the animals.

But ‘To Breathe’ or ‘Breathing’ is not all the word means – the implication is ‘An Entity or Creature’.

In Genesis 2, a later Yahwist writer expands on the concept of the creation of humans and tell us that the breath of life comes directly from the breath of God. In other words the essence of life is the essence of God.

“And he is forming, Yahweh/Elohim the human from the soil from the ground and he is blowing into his nostrils the breath of life and he is becoming a human living entity.”

You need to hold onto this idea; the idea that the essence of life is the essence of God because it will become important.

Some scholars have tried to say that it is only the breath that is alive and when we stop breathing we are just dead – ‘end of’.

Indeed, it was this view that I grew up with over a half century ago.

It has been a popular view amongst Christian, Muslim and Jewish scholars that the Jewish Bible holds a monistic view of human life; that man is not composed of two elements (body and soul) but that man is rather a psycho-physical organism. Indeed, this view is popular among atheists and Neo-Darwinian Evolutionists today. They think that we are just temporary machines – which in Hebrew is Golem but Golems lack self-awareness – they lack the ability to choose between Good and Evil. For more on this subject, read this BOOK.

It must also be noted that the Hebrew people were not idiots; they knew that babies are alive before they take their first breath and similarly they knew that we don’t just end.

Professor Herbert Chanan Brichto said, “Why has a millennium and more of good Bible scholarship failed to discern the basic view of afterlife permeating Scripture? For the biblical evidence for immortality presents a model of the afterlife which would have constituted a rebuttal of resurrection.

The metaphor of God breathing into clay is an answer to the question, ‘How do we live’ – we are dead clay animated by the essence of God – our life is God’s life.

This is further demonstrated by the word Ga`va at the end of life, “He breathed out his life” with the clarification “to return to his people.” Obviously, the writer could easily have said, “He just died” if he wanted to.

In the book of Koheleth (The Teacher – Ecclesiastes) it says: “And the Dust returns to the Earth (and leaves it) as it was, and the life-force (Ruach) returns to God who gave it.”

It is evident that the Hebrew understanding of life was not just an idea entirely focused on the self as was the Hindu, Egyptian and Persian concepts of the ‘Soul’ or ‘Self’. Rather the Hebrew understanding is that all life is a part of, and expression of, the essence of God. This fundamentally changes our relationships with ourselves and the world around us.

In 1 Samuel 28:11-14, King Saul goes to woman who could summon the dead and spoke to the ghost of Samuel. This story rests on three pillars:

  1. Hebrew people, at that time, accepted the idea of life after death.
  2. Hebrew people, at that time, accepted the idea that it was theoretically possible to speak with the dead.
  3. The proscription of the practice was based on the fact that it worked – not that it didn’t work.

It is evident then that the Hebrew people had a much more nuanced understanding of life, and of life before/after death, than people may realise but what is also evident is that they were deeply aware of the danger of building our life on the idea of a life to come.

We can conclude then that the Book of Genesis was specifically written to guide the Hebrew people toward a life-based, life-affirming religion as opposed to the Death obsession of the Egyptians and the nihilism of the Persians.

Unfortunately, this rather profound and subtle understanding of life and death did not really satisfy the Hebrew people of the Second Century BCE after suffering one invasion after another. No longer were they going to accept the blame for all the suffering of the Jewish people based on their ‘supposed’ sin. The Scribes had to come up with a more palatable story – and boy did they!

Sometime around the Second Century BCE, the Pharisee sect came up with the idea of the Resurrection of the Dead. They blended this absurd belief onto the already existing belief in the appearance of a Jewish Superman they called the ‘Moshiach’ – a military leader who would save Judah and establish a physical Judean hegemony over the whole world. In this Armageddon part II, the Jewish dead would rise out of the graves and live again.

Unfortunately, the introduction of the doctrine of the Resurrection of the Dead re-introduced the human preoccupation with death and the promise of the next life, which was why so many Hebrew religious teachers rejected it.

Professors Funk, Borg and Crossan, of the Jesus Seminar, concluded that the Jesus of History, like other prominent Hebrew religious leaders in the early first century CE, did not believe in the Resurrection of the Dead.

Indeed, the Jesus of History’s teaching conformed to the essence of the Torah and tried to push people to focus on this life and not speculate on death and the life to come. He said, “Have you found the beginning that now you look for the end?”

Of course, the concept of the physical resurrection of the dead is ridiculous and this doctrine alone has singlehandedly created billions of atheists over the years. My own father, a convert to Catholicism, was terrified to have a medical procedure as it would mean the removal of a body part, “What will I do at the Resurrection?” he whimpered.

So was Professor Tabor right? Do we die and then stay dead until the Last Day and the Resurrection of the Dead?

To be honest, you could read the text and find whatever answer you like and people do every day. But I would argue that, if you read the Hebrew original and try to understand it, the only philosophical paradigm that is consistent with the earliest Hebrew texts is the paradigm contained within the Q-Source that we call the words of the Jesus of History.

In the modern world, we think ourselves so clever. Some Muslims blow themselves up because they are convinced that they will get paradise when they are resurrected. Christians are convinced that the world is a maximum security prison and only they have an escape plan. Buddhists see life as a cheap package holiday; they just want to go home and never come back – given the chance they will just stay in their hotel room for the rest of their lives. Atheists believe that life is an accident and they are their own god.

So maybe, just maybe, the writers of the Book of Genesis were much smarter than we think! When the Pharisees introduced the idea of the Resurrection, they did not realise the hell on Earth they were bequeathing to the world.

Q source thumb 2

The Q-Source and Philosophical Coherence

The Q-Source and its Philosophical Coherence:

A few weeks ago, a desperate and troubled soul asked me if the Q-Source actually existed and I explained – what seemed self-evident to me – that the Q-Source was proved, first and foremost, by its philosophical coherence.  My friend paused for a moment, looked at me blankly, and then just repeated the question again, as if I was hard of hearing.

In that moment of failure, I had an epiphany! Looking around at the world as if I had just woken from a dream, I realised that most people are as blind to philosophical coherence as some people are to the colour red. Blindness to philosophical coherence is the reason people can no longer tell the difference between fact or fiction, truth from lies. In this world, where everyone has their own personal version of reality, vaccines are ‘safe and effective’ and global warming predictions come true.

I could see that my kind and gentle friend could read the individual words of Christ but it was evident that she couldn’t see the significance of the meaning that was contained within the groups of words when put together.

She just couldn’t see that those sayings, themselves, contradicted the Christ narrative and were therefore not a part of that Christ narrative. In fact, she – like so many other people in this modern world – is entirely dependent on an ‘authority figure’ to tell her what to think and what to believe.

Sadly, my friend is not alone, most biblical scholars look at the words in the bible as just so much data – numbers devoid of value, words devoid of meaning.

In this blog, I will explain exactly what philosophical coherence is and how it proves the existence of the Q-Source but much more importantly, I will give you the mental tools you need to distinguish between good and evil – truth from lies – for yourself.

What is ‘Philosophical Coherence?’

It is a truism that nature seeks balance. In fact, the Great Enlightenment was only possible because people knew – deep down in their bones – that the world around them could be understood through reason. It was upon this assumption that Western Civilisation was built.

Evidently then, and contrary to popular opinion, human beings are hard wired to seek order – within themselves and in the world around them. What we call ‘Sanity’ is a description of that coherence – that balance – within ourselves.

It is for this reason that most people who have watched Amazon’s Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power have concluded that the writers of the show are idiots. Why?

Because the words of the characters are incoherent – they contradict the core values of their own characters.

Even people who are effectively illiterate can get a sense of identity from a text message. Most people can tell if a text message was written by someone they know well or from a stranger. Because of this fact, even the illiterate have concluded that the Rings of Power was badly written – its characters incoherent.

Why is this relevant?

Consider this:

If one minute Jesus said that he was not good and, in fact, only God is good.

But then, in the next minute, he said that he was God and everyone should worship him, what would that mean?

In fact, most sane people would suspect that these lines had either been written by the idiots from Amazon or that Jesus was insane. The same person could not have made both statements.

Why? Because the ‘Paradigms’ expressed are not philosophically coherent – they are contradictory.

Let’s analyse that concept a little bit more carefully.

The Structure of a Paradigm

It is helpful to think of an idea, a concept, or a philosophical proposition using the umbrella term: ‘a paradigm‘. A paradigm is a Greek word that describes a pattern or an example. In modern use it tends to refer to a concept.

Taking it further you can think of a paradigm as a huge roof held up by pillars. Each of those pillars are facts that support the structure of the paradigm.

For example, it has become fashionable to believe that the Earth is flat. You can think of this concept as a paradigm supported by several observations, assumptions or ideas, which we will call pillars.

If any of those pillars are proved to be incorrect our paradigm itself becomes unsupportable – the roof will collapse.

Taking our example of the flat Earth as a whole, the paradigm is supported by several pillars:

  1. The Earth – particularly in Middle-America – looks flat.
  2. Maps look flat.
  3. Planes seem to fly in a straight line not a curved line.

Obviously, Flat Earthers will be howling at this point, as I have left out an entire corpus of their work but I am only using the Flat Earth theory because it’s so funny – so don’t get caught up on details – we are discussing principals here.


If anyone is interested in proving that the Earth is not flat, Emily and I destroy the pillars of this theory HERE.

So where does that leave us?

Having dissolved the pillars of the Flat Earth Paradigm, the Flat Earther has only three choices:

  1. Abandon the Flat Earth theory.
  2. Ignore the facts.
  3. Kill me.

So we can see from this example how a philosophical paradigm is a roof supported by pillars. We have also seen how in any argument, discussion or self-analysis we must consider the pillars of a belief and have the courage to test their ability to support the truth.

This is also true of a literary character.

Not a Real Flat Earther

Imagine if you were a writer working for Amazon and you want one of the Hobbits in the Rings of Power to be a Flat Earther. You would not be able to have the character himself refer to a place in Middle-Earth, while pointing to a point on a globe or saying that the Earth is like a ball – unless of course your Hobbit is insane (or if you really are working for Amazon).

Chinese Spring Rolls are Full of Worms

As most Christian Pseudo-Scholars seem to have such a problem with the idea of philosophical coherence, let’s examine another example.

Take as our second example, Chinese food. When I was a boy growing up in a poor area of England foreign food did not exist, which was a shame as English cuisine of the 1960s was disgusting.

Imagine our delight when a Chinese take-away opened at the end of our street. On dark winter evenings, a large group of scruffy boys would appear outside the newly painted shop like so many moths around a brightly painted lantern.

The highlight of my grey and loveless life came in the form of the exotic Chinese delicacy they charmingly called ‘Spring Rolls’. Until, that is, someone in our gang mentioned – just as I bit into an envelope of deep fried batter stuffed full of bean shoots – that Spring Rolls were full of worms.

To say that I was explosively sick would be an understatement.

My friend’s paradigm – that Spring Rolls were made from earth worms – was based on one observation and one assumption:

  1. Deep fried bean shoots do look like worms.
  2. As we were all totally ignorant – it seemed perfectly possible that the Chinese did, in fact, eat worms.

And thus was born a lifetime aversion to bean shoots, despite the fact that the pillars of my belief are easily dissolved.

So any literary representation of me in the future, would not be believable if I were described as a lover of Spring Rolls.

So much then for philosophical paradigms and their coherence. Let’s get to the meat of this discussion.

Introducing the Q-Source

I will not bore you with a detailed explanation of the Q-Source as I have done so – ad nauseam – elsewhere: on our website, in my books and in published papers but for the newly interested honest reader, I will just give a quick synopsis here.

Reading the Synoptic Gospels horizontally, the attentive reader will notice that they are all biographical stories told from the perspective of the omniscient narrator – knowing the contents of people’s thoughts and private conversations – usually these stories are there to engender belief or justify a Pauline Paradigm. With so many mistakes in history, geography and culture these story elements must be carefully quarantined on the fiction pile.

While reading horizontally, we can also see that huge chunks of narrative and incidental dialogue have been copied between the Gospels. So much then for Christianity.

However, there also exists a collection of logia (phrases, sentences, paradigms) that offer up philosophical paradigms, which spectacularly contradict the philosophical basis of the Gospel narratives.

I am not the only one to notice this fact and cannot claim it for myself. However, I will not bolster my argument by citing their authority here.

Instead, let’s examine a couple of examples for ourselves:

Q-Source Paradigm Number 1

The fundamental basis of this paradigm is the concept that God is the essence of ‘Good’.

The paradigm is expressed in several places but, in the interests of brevity, we will examine this one:

“Why are you saying I’m good? No one is good except one – God.”

Luke 18:19

This paradigm is supported by the following pillars:

  1. The world is designed specifically to nurture life (Matthew 6:31, 7:11)
  2. God does not judge us, we judge ourselves (Matthew 5.45, Matthew 7:1 – 16)
  3. God is within and without all things and is the source of all life and existence (Luke 17:21, Tomas 70, Matthew 13:31)

This paradigm dissolves the Christian doctrines of original sin, vicarious sacrifice, the divinity of Jesus and Jesus as an apocalyptic teacher to name but a few.

This bears repeating. The above paradigm and its pillars totally contradicts the narrative of the Gospels, the letters of Paul and Acts.

If the interested reader takes the time to investigate, they will find that all logia, which share this paradigm, also exist outside of the Synoptic Gospels (Epistle of James, Didache, Gospel of Thomas), which begs the question, “Why did the Gospel writers (whomever they were) include these logia in their Greco-Roman fictional propaganda?”

The answer can only  be that they wanted Hebrew authority – a lie is much more successful if it has a hint of the truth. Anyone with any practical knowledge of Hebrew mysticism would recognise these Logia as being pure Kabbalah. For more information please refer to my book, The True Sayings of Jesus: the Jesus of History versus the Christ of Myth.

Let’s look at another example:

Q-Source Paradigm Number 2

Let’s look at another paradigm and see how it elegantly reveals the very essence of the Q-Source.

“Yet I am saying to you that every man who looks at a woman, to lust after her, has already committed adultery in his heart.”

Mathew 5:28

So let’s try to sum up that philosophical paradigm by examining the pillars on which it is built.

  1. Sin (Ra) is not an action but an internal act of volition – a choice. (Matthew 5.28, Thomas 70, Luke 6:43)
  2. To control one’s thoughts is much more difficult than controlling one’s actions. (Matthew 6:22, Luke 12:2, Luke 6:41)
  3. Our choice of our selfish nature (Yetzer ha-Ra) has a direct effect on the real world. (Luke 6:27, Matthew 7:13)

This logia dissolves the Christian doctrines of Salvation from Sin through belief, as it demonstrates that the imperative of the reality of existence is constant. No one can escape, while living, the magnetic pull of sense objects. We can only learn to become aware of that magnetic pull and to let go of our urges. This is called the Narrow Gate doctrine.

In Summary

In short, the core logia within the Gospels that are often called the ‘Q-Source’ are defined not by numerical value but through the coherence of their inherent meaning.

To be honest, the Q-Source can be summed up with only two uniquely Hebrew paradigms: Emunah and Teshuvah. Christians incorrectly translate these terms as ‘Belief’ and ‘Repentance’.

In English these concepts can be loosely translated as ‘Love and confidence in God’ and ‘Returning to the divine source’, but it would take a library of books to even come close to articulating the depth and breadth of these concepts. And, I believe, it was for this reason that the Jesus of History was a genius in the way he taught: simplicity is true refinement.

Going Forward

Using Philosophical Coherence as your datum, try comparing all the words attributed to Christ and you will find that a small group of logia, which all share the same view of the world, in most cases, share the same style and syntax. In short, they appear to have been spoken by the same person. That person was obviously a Hebrew but his or her’s view of life and God were not the same as Orthodox Judaism (in fact they are pure Kabbalah) – something else was obviously going on and it is this disconnect that identifies the Q-Source.

It is, therefore, risible to suggest that just because Luke copied Matthew and Matthew copied Mark that the Q-Source didn’t exist.

The Q-Source is obvious simply because it sticks out like a philosophical sore thumb and it exists in other non-canonical sources.

The Q-Source certainly doesn’t belong in a text that is based on the idea of salvation through belief, vicarious sacrifice, and the idea that life is something to be escaped or rescued from. It is obvious from the examples above that the Jesus of History (or whomever wrote the logia) believed that life was something precious and to be celebrated.

Well meaning people continue to describe the Jesus of History as an apocalyptic teacher despite the fact that his words contradict that belief. This is as accurate as describing me as a lover of Chinese food.

They also insist on the Jesus of History as a member of the Royal Davidic line, despite the fact that the Gospels, themselves, make a nonsense of this claim and it is directly refuted by the words of the Jesus of History. This is as believable as the idea that the Earth is flat.

Why do people have such a problem with philosophical coherence you may ask.

For the same reason that people who know smoking cigarettes is bad for them continue to smoke, cognitive dissonance, but that is the subject of my next blog but before then, why don’t you take what you’ve learnt here and ask yourself, “why do I believe the things I do?”

You might be surprised by the answer. Then you might be able to read the New Testament and see the truth hidden within the lies.





Oil on Water

I’m right because it’s written!


In the age of COVID, ‘Fake-News’ and ‘Independent’ fact checkers, the search for objective truth has never been more controversial. In fact, you could say that the ability to tell the difference between ‘Fact’ and ‘Fiction’ has recently become a matter of life or death.

And this begs the question, “How can ordinary people tell what is ‘True’ and what is not within the written word?”

Once upon a time, if you were trying to convince someone of the validity of your point of view you would have prefixed your argument with the words, “It is written….”

In fact, for thousands of years, most text based religions (think Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, the Hindu religions) have relied on the written word in order to validate their own peculiar version of reality – a version of reality that they invariably want other people to share. And so it is today, except we now use the words “Scientists agree….”

Let me give you an example, every year, Jewish people celebrate the festival of Purim and read the book of Esther. As part of that festival many ‘eat the Ears of Haman’. Sadly, they don’t even notice that the story they revere promotes exactly the same genocide that has been brought down on the Jewish people time after time! How can they hear the story of the final massacre and not be revolted by the suffering it celebrates?



The words of Darwin, as much a religious text as all the rest, gave rise to the Eugenics movement and the concept of the German master race. Most people believe in ‘Evolution by means of natural selection’ without ever really understanding the theory, neither have they ever tested the validity of the man’s words for themselves.

It is evident then that words can deceive us. Looking back at history, it is also evident that we can be manipulated by the power of our subconscious feelings once they are touched by someone else’s words.

How you may ask. How can words manipulate people’s vision of the ‘truth’. The truth is that humans have evolved over thousands of years to think in words. But even so, it still doesn’t come naturally to us. Children and animals think in feelings and so do most of us for most of the time.


Words are just a veneer, a sheen, like oil on the water. Beneath that thin film of civilisation conjured up by our words there lay much darker runes. Like the bubbles in a bottle of soda, our words emerge from the depths of our feelings. Often we don’t even know why we think the words that we do and it is within this primal subconscious sea that our beliefs swim like shadowy leviathans sending shoals of thoughts rushing to the surface.

Like the bones of long dead fish washed up on the beach, the sacred scriptures, of all religions, are just the calcified and bleached remains of someone else’s words, and it is precisely those words that people try to use in order to validate their own beliefs and actions.

One man points to the Koran and justifies the murder of the helpless, while another will point to a verse and see only peace. So we ask, “How can that be? How can both be true?”

To some people, the written word can be like an imaginary friend: a comfort and an inspiration.  But be warned, when your text likes all the things you like and hates all the things you hate you should know that you are looking into a mirror. You are taking other people’s words and are seeing your idea of yourself magnified. Through their words you have become your own god.

So how can we interpret the texts that have been handed down to us, without descending into madness? Should we just ignore scripture? Of course that would be to condemn every generation to reinvent the world. We need to be smarter than that.

Any historical text must be understood from three points of view:

The writer:

What was the belief matrix of the writer? What was his subconscious feeling from which his words emerged? What was his historical environment? What was his intention in writing the piece?

The primary audience:

To whom was the text written and what was the literary context. What was the belief matrix of the original audience: What did they want from the text? How did the writer want his words to be understood?

Evidence for original understanding:

What are the archaeological and textual evidences for the original interpretation? Ultimately, if you can get into the mind of the author of a text, if you can respect them and find the inner strength to hear their words without colouring and distorting their meaning, then you may have a chance at finding the ‘truth’ as they saw it.

Ultimately, just because ‘It is written’ it doesn’t mean that it is true. Written truth is a window never a mirror.

If you enjoyed this blog, then you might like: ‘What is Spirituality and can it be found in a book?’ And, ‘Map or Instruction Manual

To learn more about the Historical Jesus –

Non-Fiction Book – The True Sayings of Jesus: The Jesus of History Vs. The Christ Myth

To learn more about Darwin and Eugenics –

Non-fiction book: ‘Quantum Mechanics For Your Soul – How to Repair Yourself and Save the World at the Same Time

Historical Fiction Book – The Last Letters of Jesus

Watch: Christ Versus the Jesus of History: The True Sayings

The True Sayings of JesusQuantum Mechanics For Your SoulThe Last Letters of Jesus

Del Boy

What did Jesus say and what did he actually mean?

After the Second World War, the peculiar culture of the East End of London began to spread along the north bank of the Thames like gangrene on a septic wound. It infected that ancient countryside and turned it into an urban wasteland of narcissistic stupidity. The new town where I served out the sentence of my youth had a weekly market. It stank of rotten fish, stale burgers, and sweat. In the centre of this concrete prairie a city of tented stalls would spring up overnight like a reoccurring rash. One stall near the centre, larger than the rest, had become almost permanent. Within it, hard men with shaved heads performed their carnival of greed and false bargains every Wednesday.

 The circus master, in our weekly pantomime of greed, would shout:

 “Alrite love! Cat got ya tung – step up. If you cant spot a belter then him over there will!”

He would aggressively point to one of his planted men at the back of the massive crowd as, on cue, the man opened his bursting wallet. The ‘old-before-her-time’ Doris would smile hesitantly and the crowd would push forward swallowing her up like a cancer on healthy flesh.

King James Bible

King James Bible

Evangelical preachers often remind me of the aggressive and clever conmen of London town. They rattle off quotes from all over the Bible as if it were one book written by King James himself. The textual barrage, just like an enemy gun emplacement, is intended to intimidate you and keep you off balance. Just like the market stall men of my youth, their success depends on your ignorance.

In opposition to this approach, I would like to offer you some points to consider and mediate on. I will show you that the New Testament was written by a variety of authors separated from Palestine, in the first half of the first century, by geography, time and culture. I will go further, I will show you that what we call Christian theology is the exact opposite of what the historical Jesus taught. I will offer you an insight into a philosophical paradigm hinted at within the few documents that remain to us.

Gospel of Mark

Contrary to our machine gun preacher’s assertions, the Synoptic Gospels were, in fact, written in Greek by Pagans, a long time after the historical Jesus died. The Gospel of Mark was chronologically the first of the Synoptic Gospels but was written some time after the fall of the Second Temple in 70 AD by a Pagan who had no idea of the geography of Judea or Israel.

UK MapMark 7.31 in the Greek has Jesus “…go back out of Tyre, he went through Sidon, down to the ten cities…” This would be like saying that he left London to go to Calais via Aberdeen. By the time the King James Bible was created from Jerome’s Latin Vulgate a scribe had tried to correct this error by inserting “…departing from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, he came unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis…” This makes more sense but is still an unlikely detour of hundreds of miles.

Unfortunately, there are many more errors in the Gospel of Mark. Mark 10.1 has Jesus leave Capernaum (which is on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee) and go to the coast of Judea “by the farther side of the Jordan.” The problem with this is that Jesus would have been heading toward the Arabian desert and going in the wrong direction. Mark states (Mark 5.1) that country of the Gerasenes was on the east bank of the Sea of Galilee. No such city existed. Also, none of the Synoptic Gospels agree on the name of the location. Unfortunately for Joseph, there is no such place as Arimathea in Judea.

More Errors in the Gospel of Mark

Putting geographical errors aside, there are cultural and religious errors in Mark, which suggest an ignorance of Jewish culture and religion. For example, in Mark 1.2 the original Greek read, “As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.” This is not written in Isaiah but is a paraphrase from Malachi 3.1. Later editions of the Bible hid the error and inserted “In the prophets it is written.”

The next cultural mistake can be found in Mark 2.25 where Jesus says, in his own defence, that in a time of war, King David ate the sacred bread in the time of Abiathar the High Priest. There are two problems with this section: one is the fact that Abiathar was not the High Priest at this time and the second is that Jewish law does, in fact, allow for the eating of sacred bread in a time of war. A Jewish audience would have known this. It was already the position of the Jewish religion that the Sabbath was made for man and not the other way around so this would have been a pointless statement in Judea or Israel.

Mark 7.5 has the Pharisees ask why the followers of Jesus didn’t wash their hands before eating but this restriction was only placed on priests of the temple at the time of Jesus, not the laity. The question would have been irrelevant. This Mitzvah came into fashion in the schools of the Pharisees. They adopted the ‘eighteen measures’ just before the fall of the Second Temple (70 AD).

Gospel of MarkThe earliest texts of the Gospel of Mark ended at verse 8 – with only an empty tomb and no resurrection. Several hundred years later, a helpful scribe added another 12 verses in order to harmonise the Gospel with the new position of the Church. They had just narrowly voted Jesus into a God.

The Other Gospel Writers

If not the Gospel of Mark, what of the others? Matthew and Luke copied from Mark so they hardly count as independent sources. The Gospel of John was written around 120 AD by a Greek. He takes Paul’s Mithraic God of blind faith and his fatal misunderstandings of Isaiah and thoroughly Hellenises Jesus into an Orphic mystery God who sacrifices himself to himself and is celebrated by the eating of his flesh. He has Jesus condemn the Jews as Satanic, which is highly unlikely as Jesus was Jewish.

I mention these errors only to illustrate the fact that the Synoptic Gospels cannot be relied upon. They were written by men who had their own agenda and bent the text to suit themselves. We have to use our common sense to find the clues as to what might actually be a saying of the historical Jesus. If we assume that Jesus was not insane, his teachings must have been internally coherent. It should be possible to discern some echoes of the real teachings of the Jewish Rabbi amid the pagan extrapolations. Indeed, I found this to be the case.


In order to find out what Jesus might have said, I hit on the idea of using the character of God as a litmus test. If we look at the Q-Document, which many scholars agree may have been the notes that Mark inherited from Paul, there is a correlation between the visions of God described by King David, King Solomon, Jesus and his brother James. Many Hebrew scholars agree that this version of God is from Israel and is called the Elohist vision of God. This God is the essence of all and is the light that animates all life.

“...and you will be children of God. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good; he sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” Luke 6.

God does not judge us; we judge ourselves.

“Be merciful even as your Father is merciful. Don’t judge and you won’t be judged. For the standard you use [for judging] will be the standard used against you.” Luke 6.

“Let no one, when tempted, say: I am tempted by God. For God cannot be tempted by evils, and himself tempts no one. But every one is tempted by his own desire, being drawn away and seduced: then desire, having conceived, brings forth sin, and sin, having been perfected, brings forth death. Be not deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no change nor shadow cast by turning.” Epistle of James.

Books of Moses

I would posit that the Elohist (for want of a better term) was the earliest view of God held by the Semitic people. There is evidence that Essenes, the Nazarenes and the Ebionites all shared a rejection of parts of the books of Moses and held them as being forgeries. So when Galileans say “the Law” it is not necessarily the same “Law” that modern Rabbinical Jews would recognise as the law. In modern Kabbalah we see the mirror of this vision of God and find clues as to what Jesus might have meant in his most famous sayings.

The Synoptic Gospels struggle with the fact that Jesus was part of a religious and philosophical movement that was already old when he was alive. It continued after he died. The students who were left alive believed that he was a prophet and in many ways an anointed man. It is the word ‘anointed’ that Paul translated into Greek as ‘Christ’. James, the brother of Jesus, was Paul’s greatest rival for the reason that Paul’s new gentile cult subscribed to a doctrine that was the opposite of his own understanding of Nazarene teaching.

So it is within the teachings of this movement that we must look for the words of Jesus but we must first understand Jewish thought if we are to understand what Jesus meant by his teachings. The Jews of the first century saw the obligations of law (Mitzvah) as a way to reach God. The obligations of law were a blessing and in no way were they viewed as a burden as Paul insists ad nauseam. Paul quite liked the fire and brimstone of the Judean God of judgement and sacrifice. It is the dichotomy of these two visions of God that has caused so much suffering over the years.

Not really a Bargain

Just as there are no real bargains in a London market, there are no easy answers when it comes to Jesus. Just as East End culture has infected and corrupted English culture so too did the Greeks and Romans of Paul’s Gentile Christian movement mutate the teachings of the Nazarenes into their opposite. We can find a few diamonds within the Q-Document but only as far as they resonate with Early Jewish Christian documents like the Gospel of Thomas, Mary and Phillip, the Epistle of James and the Teachings of the Apostles to the Gentiles.

To paraphrase King Solomon, “A fool believes but a wise man understands.” No belief can bring salvation. Jesus taught that only the hard struggle of experiential knowledge and self-transformation can bring the peace of the Kingdom of God.

The next time you hear a slick Christian Apologist trying to sell his audience salvation for the ‘one time’ low price of belief, just ask yourself is there really a bargain in the box or is it a cheap fake.

Read the Research Paper: What did the Jesus of History Really Say: The use of forensic textual analysis based on philosophical coherence

The True Sayings of Jesus: The Jesus of History Vs. The Christ Myth

The True Sayings of Jesus