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Is the Bible Fact or Fiction?

The problem many people have is that the Jesus in the New Testament makes very little sense. The image of an anti-Semitic Jew on a donkey driving two hundred thousand people out of a temple with a knotted piece of string was obviously never meant to be history. The Synoptic Q-Source and the extra-biblical Q-Source leave us with many sayings that are almost impossible to understand if all we have of Jewish history is the New Testament.

When Jesus said ‘Judeans’ did he mean all Jews? What was his problem with Pharisees? Why disrupt the animal sacrifices? Why teach in the wilderness?

Talking Donkeys

Unfortunately, the Old Testament fares little better with talking donkeys, genocidal wars, and genital mutilation. History, archaeology and common sense would suggest caution when we approach these books. The Old Testament speaks of Jerusalem as the centre of a Davidic Kingdom, which stretched from Egypt to Damascus. There was only one legitimate form of Jewish religion and the books suggest that all the ills that befall the Jewish people are due to some ‘Failure’ of worship within this cult of animal sacrifice.

I would suggest that to understand what the historical Jesus might have meant and what might have been actually happening, you have to understand his past from his point of view.

America and England unite

Imagine, if you will, that America is attacked by China and its people seek refuge in England. Over hundreds of years it might become expedient to unite Northern Europeans, both American and English, against the Asian threat. A scribe in England begins to rewrite history, downplaying the importance of America and creating a narrative where London is the centre of the world and the English church ruled over the historical kingdom of America of which England was the centre. In this narrative all the presidents were idiots and God punishes them for their failings as Anglican Christians. The legends and memories used by the scribe are based on truth but they are twisted to mean something new, which advances this English/European agenda and justifies the authority of London over all Northern Europeans.

Israel was like America is now. It was based in the fertile north of Palestine and was big enough to be an Egyptian headache. Judea was an insignificant and barren wasteland centred around the village of Jerusalem (Ref 1). Israel was centred around Shechem and it was to Shechem that Davidic Kings went to be crowned (Ref 2).

Israel and JudahInvasion

Judea and Israel had coexisted for centuries. When the Assyrians invaded Israel in the north, the Israeli refugees fled to Jerusalem and we see a village with one water source explode into a city. The refugees bring with them their stories both written and oral. After the return from Babylon a movement toward unifying the Jewish people begins within the Judean elite (Ref 3).

The stories of the Israelis were spun to create the myth of Judean supremacism and a justification for Jerusalem and its Theocracy to assume authority over all Jews everywhere. It was through the appropriation of the Davidic legend that this was achieved.

Some religious movements within the Jewish people resented and rejected what they saw as the subversion of their religion, history and culture. We know from several contemporary sources that the Nazarenes rejected the Judean view, their forged books of Moses and the cult of animal sacrifice (Ref 4). When Jesus is reported as saying ‘Judeans’ it is very likely that he did actually mean, Judeans and not Jews as a whole. When he disrupted the Temple Sacrifices, it makes no sense to think he suddenly got upset about the money – this Judean cult had been running for 500 years.

Whose agenda?

In the book ‘The Last Letters of Jesus’ we get to see the temple from the Israeli perspective. It is very likely that the Judean cult of animal sacrifice was as offensive to the Nazarenes as it is to us. Suddenly many of the most obscure sayings of Jesus in the Q-Source start to make sense (Ref 5). The stories, legends and histories of the Jewish people are remarkably accurate covering, as they do, thousands of years but just like any history written at third hand, a long time after the fact, the Bible stories reflect the bias and agenda of the writer and in the case of most of the Old Testament, the bias and agenda was principally Judean. The fact that the New Testament utterly mistakes the context and implication of the words of Jesus is further proof that the New Testament was almost entirely written by Greeks and Romans (Ref 6).

References:

  1. A Great United Monarchy? Archaeological and Historical Perspectives, in: R.G. Kratz and H. Spieckermann eds. 2010. One God – One Cult – One Nation: Archaeological and Biblical Perspectives. Berlin (2010): 3-28.
  2. 1 Kings 12-13.
  3. Prof Israel Finkelstein: The forgotten Kingdom – the archaeology and history of northern Israel.
  4. Epiphanius of Salamis: The Panarion.
  5. Burton L Mack: The Q-Source.
  6. Bart D. Ehrman: How Jesus became God.

If you enjoyed this Blog, then you might like to read: Animal Sacrifice is Evil and Did Jesus believe in Sacrifice?

Research Paper: The Jesus of History Versus Judean Supremacism

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

The True Sayings of Jesus

Historical Fiction – The Last Letters of Jesus

The Last Letters of Jesus

Straw Target

Was Jesus Called Rabbi?

In Spanish we call roses, ‘rosas’. In Welsh they are called rhosyn. Strangely enough, by whatever name you choose to call them, roses smell the same. RosesBy the same token, the idea of ‘Teacher’ in English is named ‘Professor’ in Spanish. Morah would be a closer transliteration in Hebrew and again, the idea of someone in whom we place trust and from whom we hope to learn is the same.

Straw Men

In the book, Last Letters of Jesus, I have used the term, Rabbi Yeshua bar Yosef for the Jesus of History. I have used these names for several reasons but the most important one is that I am trying to call attention to the fact that Jesus was a Jew. The spiritual movement of which he was a part was extremely important to Jewish history in particular and world history in general. Unfortunately, there are more straw men in this discussion than in an archery competition and it is easy to get caught up in largely irrelevant details.

My book was written for people who live in the modern world. Most people in the West understand the term ‘Rabbi’ and its implication. I used the term in the book to express the idea of a Jewish religious teacher. Unfortunately, most people know very little about Jewish language and culture.

Historically, the term Rabbenu was used to refer to Moses and means ‘our teacher/master’ but it is much more than that. The actual word for ‘teacher’ in Hebrew is ‘Morah’ but if I had used that term nobody would have known what I actually meant. In reality, the mostly likely term used by the students of Jesus would have been Maran. Indeed, Syriac Christians historically did use this term.

Pharisees

The term ‘Rabbi’ and the codification of its designation was created by the Pharisees after the fall of the Second Temple in 70 AD. After that war, the Pharisees had no choice but to make a sensible accommodation with the victorious Romans. The Pharisees set up a university in the north and became what we now call Rabbinical Judaism.

That being said, Rab or Rav was used as an honorific much earlier than the first century but its meaning was somewhat less codified. The Synoptic Gospels refer to the Jesus of Paul as ‘Rabbi’ and I would argue that this says more about the date of their composition than hint at what the students of the historical Jesus actually called him.

Names

Yeshua bar YosefWith regard to the term, ‘Yeshua’; Josephus refers to James the Just as the ‘brother of Jesus’. He uses the Greek term for the Hebrew Yeshua, ‘Iesous’. When we say the Latin Jesus in Spanish it sounds more like the original Hebrew or Aramaic, ‘Yesu’. I think there is general agreement amongst most scholars that the name of the historical Jesus would have been Yeshua so I will not labour the point.

The common slur the Pharisees used against the people they didn’t like was ‘bastard’ or (if they were women) ‘whore’. Within a strongly nationalistic movement, this insult would have been to put the victim beyond the pale.

Pantera

The common Jewish spin on the Jesus story of the Gospels is that Jesus was a bastard of a Roman soldier called Pantera. The Romans often used rape as weapon of war and as the accusation was that Mary was raped, it is not beyond the realms of imagination that the insult may be true.

Under Jewish law she should have been stoned to death unless the crime was committed in the countryside in which case the Roman would have to pay a fine and marry her. Obviously that was never going to happen.

Just as with the story of Beruryah who was a famous second century female teacher and the wife of a Gentile who converted and became famous for his Torah wisdom. Predictably enough, the scribes leave us a story of how she had sex with her students.

I’ve used the term, ‘bar Yosef’ in the book for several reasons, most of the early historical sources including Paul’s letters all agree that Yosef was the biological father of Jesus. I could see no reason to go against those sources. I’ve used the term ‘bar’ as in ‘son of’ in order to emphasis the fact that Jesus was first and foremost ‘Jewish’.

William Shakespeare

Most Jews tend to lose their mind if anyone mentions ‘Jesus’ and if you’ve been unlucky enough to see the evangelical posts on Facebook you can understand why. But Jewish sensibilities to one side, I’ve used the terms I have in order to focus people on the fact that John the Baptist, Jesus and his brother James the Just did not see themselves as anything other than Jewish and had no intention of starting a new religion. The words we can reliably attribute to them are an expression of a purely Jewish view of the world and focuses us on correcting ourselves instead of crowing over any advantages we think we might have.

As the bard said, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Whether we call Jesus Rabbi or Maran it would not change the historical Jew that lived and died. The Last Letters of Jesus as a work of historical fiction, is an attempt to cut through the preconceived ideas and tribal flags and look with empathy at the life of an extraordinary Jewish man.

Historical Fiction – ‘The Last Letters of Jesus: The Secret of the Nazarenes

If you enjoyed this Blog, then you might like: ‘What did Jesus say and what did he actually mean’ and ‘Did Jesus Really Exists?

Research Paper: Did He Really Exist – The Jesus Family Tomb

Watch: The Jesus Family Tomb Reopened Part 1 and Part 2

The Last Letters of Jesus

Rose

Read Yourselves into a Story

By way of a reply to the Kabbalah Centre and to Billy Phillips, I would like to tell you a story:

Beelzebub is another word for Satan. The name Beelzebub has nine letters. Rav Berg who started the Kabbalah Centre came from Brooklyn in New York. The original name of Brooklyn was Breukelen named after the Dutch city. Breukelen also has nine letters. Did the Americans change the name to hide this infernal link? Rav Berg’s name was originally Gruberger, which also has nine letters, so if you have an elevated consciousness, like me, this is a clear indication that Rav Berg was really Satan and the Kabbalah centre is a work of the Devil.

Is this true, in the real world? No of course not! Rav Berg was a lovely man and a great teacher and the Kabbalah Centre, despite their many difficulties, bring much light into the world. So what is my point?

Any story has three meanings:

  1. The first meaning is in the mind of the author. The sum of that persons experiences and their beliefs about their past and their hopes for their future. You cannot find meaning number one without understanding the historical and philosophical context of a story.
  2. The second meaning is slightly harder to define. What did the original author want his audience to believe/feel about his story. Again this cannot be approached without understanding the contemporary context.
  3. Anyone else reading this story will bring with them their own context and prejudice unless they try very hard to understand meanings one and two.

For instance, when Shakespeare wrote, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” he was not giving gardening tips. His implication is that a thing does not change its essence by changing its name.

exegesis-vs-eisegesisExegesis does justice

Exegesis, is the process of trying to find the deepest level of meaning within level one. In modern terms this is like trying to understand the Zen Koan, ‘What is the sound of one hand clapping’. Sometimes we cannot arrive at a profound understanding of a phrase or a word without a leap of logic. It is true then that logic will not carry us all the way to an elevated level of consciousness of which we are capable BUT when we do arrive at this point, our insights (if they are true) do not contradict logic.

For instance the word ‘Sh’ma’ means more than just ‘listen’ – Sh’ma Isra’el, at its deepest level means that the process of deeply listening forces us to abandon the ‘self’ and entirely give ourselves up to the silent voice of the Creator within. This transcendental unity within the sound of silence can only be found through experience but when found does not contradict logic.

Eisegesis leads to a misinterpretation

Eisegesis, on the other hand, is to take level three and run with it off the pitch. This is to impose one’s own meaning on a text or story and ignore level one and two as I did at the beginning of this article. Just as I did above, one could say that ‘as I am such an elevated person and my consciousness is so beyond normal people, if you don’t understand or accept my interpretation of this story then by implication you must be spiritually retarded’. This is an easy ploy that many people beside the Kabbalah Centre use. It is very tempting to live in the cave of our own self and listen to the warm comforting drone of our own opinions. Our ego finds validation in other people’s approbation.

If you were to indulge me in my opening story, the legacy of Rav Berg would be obscured by my fantasy. Everything that Rav Berg stood for and everything that he tried to achieve would be lost.

This fate did happen to another Rabbi two thousand years ago and this crime is still being propagated today. Many scholars agree, and you would find on investigation, that only 18% of the words attributed to Christ were likely to have been spoken by the Jesus of History. Billy Phillips is right, because the truth is that it is impossible to understand that 18% without understanding Kabbalah.

Unfortunately we have two thousand years of Shysters telling their own stories about this Rabbi and putting their own words into his mouth.

As an example, Golgotha – as the place of the skulls and its connection to Kabbalah. Actually, Mark was the first Gospel to be written. For reasons too numerous to mention here, it is obvious that it was written after 70 AD by a Greek who was not familiar with Israel or Hebrew customs. The name ‘Gol Goatha’ is Aramaic for ‘Place of Execution’ when Paul was creating his own version of Mithraism he used just enough Jewish sauce to give his fantasy a kick for Greek and Roman consumption. Errors like the meaning of Gol Goatha are legion. From Christ ridding two donkeys at the same time to his mother being a virgin it is obvious that the Church can’t make up their mind when or where their Christ was born, nor can they agree when or why he died.

Make-believe

While fantasies may be entertaining, they inevitably obscure truth and the truth about the Rabbi is so much more complicated and profound than any of the Christian or Jewish fantasies.

The Jesus of History said, “Why call me good? There is none good but one, God” (Mark 10:18) and this is typical of this Rabbi’s teaching – Zen like Koans that force us toward deep understanding. By the middle of the second century, Christian shysters had given us the long, seductive Greek speeches entirely in the syntax of the author, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.” (John 14:6).

If I’ve learnt anything from the teachings of the Jesus of History it is that if Hashem is all goodness, then it would also be true to say that Hashem is all truth. When we abandon objective truth we are giving up on God and the world. If you tried to defend the name of Rav Berg in the face of my libellous fantasy, I could say that you are spiritually retarded but it wouldn’t make it true.

If you enjoyed this Blog, then you might like ‘What did Jesus say and what did he actually mean?

Research paper – ‘The Jesus of History: Did He Really Exist – The Jesus Family Tomb

Watch: The Jesus Family Tomb ‘Part One’ and ‘Part Two

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

The True Sayings of Jesus

Angel Cloud

If not Christ why even bother with Jesus?

Now that we’ve finally separated the Jesus of History from the Christ story it would be logical for many people to ask, “If not Christ why even bother with Jesus?” An even more important question might be, “After two thousand years, why now?”

Truthfully, before I can answer these two, rather pertinent, questions I would have to insert the caveat that the relevance of the Jesus of History entirely depends on what you are looking for. Therefore, in order to clarify our terms of reference, I will need to make a bit of a digression, so please bear with me.

Angels and Eagles

MountainImagine, if you will, that I had climbed the mountain behind my house. I trained and prepared for months and months and after much effort I got to the summit. I could draw you a detailed map. I could list the items of equipment that you would need. I could stipulate the kind of clothing you would need to wear. I could even try to describe the view and I could say that ‘as the sun rose I saw angels flying with the eagles’ but without repeating my experiment for yourself the experience would remain forever beyond you.

You might choose to believe in my descriptions and you would be able to pass on those stories to other people but your belief would not have changed you. You could decide to worship the map as sacred and revere the stories of the angels as scripture but no matter how deeply you ‘believed’ it would not give you the wisdom and the strength of the actual experience.

Cult of the Mountain

Over the years you might become a priest of the cult of the mountain and dress as if for climbing. How you dress would now define your idea of yourself and you would shun anyone who is not like you and think of them as less. Indeed, you might reserve the cult of the mountain to only members of your race, as the chosen people of the mountain. You might mutilate the genitals of your children as a mark of your cult.

In your heart of hearts you suspect that there are no angels at the top of the mountain so any information or opinion that challenges your belief you resist violently. You would have achieved ‘belief without effort, superiority and belonging without the need to excel’. You might then feel well justified in violently subjugating the world to the will of the priests of your cult and avoid ever having your ‘belief’ challenged.

Belief, Knowledge and Wisdom

Groundhog DayFrom this little analogy we can say that ‘belief’ based on ‘knowledge’ is inherently empty. ‘Wisdom’, on the other hand, comes from work, change and direct experience.

To understand the importance of the teachings of the Jesus of history (if you will indulge me further) there is yet another detour we need to make. Do you remember the film, ‘Groundhog Day’? If not, I’m guessing that most people will be familiar with the film ‘Scrooge’?

In both films, a cruel and selfish man objectively sees his past, present and future and through the experience fundamentally connects to a reality of which we are all subconsciously aware. When Phil Connors realises that, contrary to his previous cynicism, every moment of life and everyone he meets is infinitely precious. That message resonates deep within all of us. If that were not true, these films and millions like them would not really work.

A separate Self

We all recoil when we watch yet another narcissistic suicide bomber lecture the world on why he feels aggrieved enough to go out and kill innocent people. We all mourn as yet another self-obsessed star, lost within the illusion of their own desires, manages to kill themselves.

The common denominator to all of these sad stories is the universal sensation of a separate self and the suffering that illusion causes. Phil Connors, the Islamic Terrorist, Scrooge, the sexually obsessed actor with a needle in his arm all choose themselves over something else.

That ‘something else’ is the opposite to the ‘illusion of the self’ and can be thought of as that mountain behind my house. The teachings of the Jesus of History were designed to get you to the top. They were designed to help you do something about ‘you‘. The Jesus of History taught that nobody but you can make that journey.

Nicene Creed

Nicene CreedPrior to the fall of Herod’s Temple and the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, Hebrew spiritual life was extremely diverse. That destruction put an end to a religious reformation and civil war that had been raging since the fall of Israel to the Assyrians in 722 BC. In the first half of the first millennium, the Pharisees united what was left of the Jewish people and became what we now call ‘Rabbinical Judaism’.

It is true that the teachings of the Jesus of History can only really be understood when returned to their Jewish context but they go beyond the confines of Rabbinical Judaism. It is also true that the teachings of the Jesus of History have been accidentally preserved by Christians but they fundamentally contradict the Nicene Creed. It is true that the silent discipline and the required ‘mindfulness’ of Nazarene prayer is similar to Buddhist practice, but it sees the world as full of God rather than empty of reality and therefore infinitely precious.

So if you want to worship the map and if you feel the need to believe in the angels at the top of the mountain then I guess that the teachings of the Jesus History, and his example, are probably not for you.

The Narrow Gate

If, on the other hand, you want to climb the mountain for yourself but keep tripping over the stories told by ‘religions’ and their unhealthy preoccupation with the map; then, like me, you could well find that the words of the Jesus of History are the most profound spiritual teachings you have ever found.

The teachings of the Jesus of History include the ‘Two Ways’ and the ‘Narrow Gate’ doctrines. These teachings actually result in a form of Judaism that is, in many ways, much stricter than the ‘Rabbinical’ form but is free of its racial divisions. Where for many Jews the Mitzvah are cultural identifiers and totem objects, by focussing on and guarding the gate of intention they once again become tools that bring us closer to the ‘Mountain’ to which we are all connected.

Every life matters

The ‘Narrow Gate’ doctrine reveals all mental constructions of the self to be ‘idolatry’. Within the teachings of the Jesus of History, there is nowhere to hide. We cannot feel the satisfaction of being ‘saved’ through belief. Nor can we feel justified by an accident of birth and superior by virtue of our culture. We are, like Scrooge and Phil Connors, confronted by reality naked of the pretensions we clothe our self in and finally we learn that every moment and every life ‘matters’. In my opinion, this is why the teachings of the Jesus of History are so important and in a world torn apart by fundamentalist violence on every side we have never needed a way past ‘belief’ more.

If you enjoyed this Blog, then you might like: What did Jesus say and what did he actually mean?  and The Sayings of the Jesus of History

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

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

The True Sayings of Jesus

Aliens

Early Jewish Christian

Before the fall of the Second Temple, the Jewish people were trying to decide the nature of God. With the destruction of the Kingdom of Judah, the Romans prevented a reformation of Judaism and have left Jewish religious vision frozen in time like a fly in amber. Some of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the texts of the early followers of James the Just have preserved an early vision of God, which is virtually identical to modern Kabbalah and is the complete opposite to the Blood God of the Judeans. These lost texts reveal a people struggling to come to terms with their own stories.

Twin Towers

On 9/11 two planes flew into the Twin Towers. The attacks on the Twin Towers are an historical fact and each story told about the event says more about the people telling the story than the event itself. Depending on your religion, cultural heritage or agenda, the story you favour regarding 9/11 might be one of the following:

  • The rise of fundamentalist Islam and the reigniting of a thousand year holy war caused the attack
  • Mossad and the Jews did it in order to blame innocent Muslims
  • It was an act of God punishing a sinful people
  • Government conspiracy to create a pretext for an invasion of the Middle East
  • Aliens did it

People cling to stories as if they were a part of themselves and rarely give any thought to the implication of those beliefs. When the story inculcates a concept of God, the images of that story tend to immediately bypass any capacity for reasoned thought and immediately lodge directly in the subconscious. For some Muslims supportive of the attack, it was the ‘will of God’. If any thought is given to the innocent people who were killed, the general conclusion is that the innocent dead are now martyrs.

Sunan Abu Dawud

Sunan Abu DawudThe Jewish people have been trying to reconcile the images created within the stories of the Torah (Old Testament) for over two thousand years. Most Christians know the name of the book but assume that it has been made irrelevant by Jesus. Islam (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 38) initially embraced the Old Testament vision of God only to lose interest during the beginning of the twentieth century. The revival of a fundamentalist version of Islam by the Wahhabi movement has led many within the Ummah to enthusiastically embrace the moral ambivalence and blood thirsty horror of the Torah’s original vision.

So in the twenty-first century, we have reached a strange position. Because of these stories about God, some people ‘of conscience’ feel compelled to become atheists and reject this vision. Many people feel obliged to bring the horrors of the Torah to life and graphically re-enact the punishments described for the benefit of the world’s media.

Kabbalah

Torah

In researching early Jewish Christianity and its relationship with Kabbalah, I have found an obvious and clear philosophical link between the two, which we will shortly explore but the connection between Kabbalah and the Torah is less obvious and requires careful examination.

For most Jewish people, the Torah (Old Testament) and its stories are a tribal flag. In discussions with Goyim (Non-Jews) they tend to oscillate between two positions.

 

 

  • The Torah is the revealed word of God and everything that Jewish culture demands is sanctioned by God’. If passages involving racial genocide and animal sacrifice are mentioned, they often dig in like our Muslim supporters of the 9/11 attacks and use the same justifications for violence. The alternative argument used by many Kabbalists is to switch effortlessly to position B.

 

  • ‘The Torah doesn’t mean what it says it means: you have to speak Hebrew and learn the secret language of the Torah to understand it’. This is a clever avoiding technique and it is usually successful in shutting down any further discussion. To push beyond this point would be considered anti-Semitic. At this point, the telephone usually goes dead.

Stories

Before it is anything else, the Bible is a collection of stories. Like 9/11 many of those stories are based on real events. For example the actual Hyksos expulsion from Egypt is a dramatised account detailed within the stories of the Exodus. It is disingenuous to say that this story doesn’t mean what it says it means. You cannot have your scholars declare the historical accuracy of the text and then say it doesn’t mean what it says it means.

The Torah then is part history, part cultural repository of proverbs, poetry, and philosophy. We should not be surprised when events or characters are merged and changed to reflect the agenda and view of the writer; that doesn’t change the reality upon which the story is based. Serious problems arise, however, when the writer presumes to speak for God.

I could say that the Governments of the world caused 9/11 to bring about ‘one-world-government’. I could say that Mossad organised the attack to further its hegemony in the Middle East. I could even say Aliens did it but the moment I say that God wanted three thousand people to die I cross a line. We must be very careful of the stories we tell. Stories can change the world.

Genocide

For believers, when God orders the racial genocide of the Amalekites and the Midianites (1 Samuel 15:3/ Numbers 31) that’s considered good. When the Nazis try to do the same that’s bad. When God orders the sacrifice of every first born son (Exodus 13:2) that’s good. When a woman wants an abortion that’s bad. When God wants to have a goat thrown down a cliff, to a painful death. (Leviticus 16:10) Good! When Satanists sacrifice goats: bad. The Gospels hint at the indignation that many Galileans felt at this moral hypocrisy. We know from Epiphanius of Salamis that many Galilean movements rejected the books of Moses as forgeries and clung to an oral teaching not now available. I would posit that it is this disenchantment that led to the evolution of Jewish belief within Kabbalah.

Stories then are reflections of the inner life of the teller. Over a thousand years, the inner life of the Jewish people matured. Their vision of the blood God of the Torah evolved into the most profound transcendental teachings the world has ever known. How? As we have previously discussed, the Israeli Elohist view of God is incorporeal.

God

Sometime during the first millennium BC this view deepened and gave rise to a view of God as the ‘force that animates all life’, within which ‘we are all united’. From being a God who demanded sacrifice he became a God that treasured all life.

Exodus 13:2 ‘Sacrifice to me every firstborn, the first offspring of every womb among the sons of Israel, both of man and beast; it belongs to Me’. Became: Psalm 145:9 ‘The Lord is good to all; his loving-kindness extends to all he made.’

An argument can be made that many of the statements made by the historical Jewish teacher we know as Jesus were based on the Torah. ‘Why call me good? Jesus answered ‘There is none good but God alone.’ Mark 10:18. is obviously a mirror of Psalm 145:9. But it is hard to trace the genesis of this evolution.

Modern Kabbalah

When I say modern Kabbalah, I am referring to the teachings of Rav Ashlag and his commentary on the ‘Ten Luminous Emanations’ and Rav Kook who said that ‘in a still small voice the wisdom of Israel speaks through Kabbalah’.

Today Rav Michael Berg and Rabbi David Aaron are possibly the most accessible teachers of this view of Kabbalah. I do not have the space here to go into these concepts in detail but will just touch on the parallels.

When Jesus taught the concept of ‘Repentance’ we can see this mirrored in the Kabbalistic concept of ‘Teshuvah’. When Jesus taught the ‘Kingdom of God’, we can see the concept of ‘Emunah’. So much is obvious. But what of more complex ideas?

Point of View

Kabbalah teaches us to not give in to the evil inclination to ‘receive for the self alone’. We learn to find the path of ‘receiving in order to share’. We learn how to be proactive. When Jesus says, “if you are struck on one cheek, offer them the other. If you are pressed to walk a mile, go with them two.” From a Western or Christian point of view, this approach makes no sense but in the context of Kabbalah it is the only logical course of action.

When the Nazarene movement says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened for you.” It is reflected in the teachings of Kabbalah ‘Baat Kol’ which is the ‘still small voice’ that Rav Kook, of blessed memory explained.

Only by viewing the world through the prism of Kabbalah can a statement like the following make sense. ‘But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for them that persecute you; that ye may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust.’ Within the Father of lights we are all one and if my enemy is me, then in forgiving him I am forgiving myself.

Which Path?

In 2015 in Paris, Colorado Springs and in Duma, fundamentalists calling on the name of Allah, Jesus, and Yahweh, respectively killed too many innocent people. These fanatics killed because they believed a story about God. On 9/11 three thousand people were killed because of a story that had started three thousand years before in the Torah. In the Q-Document, the historical Jesus taught that the stories we tell are of the utmost importance. Every second of every day we are all faced with a crossroad and we must choose the path of life or the path of death.

It is only within Modern Kabbalah that we can learn to understand how to take the path of life. It is fitting that I should end with the words of the great Rav Kook,‘ The tendency of unrefined people to see the divine essence as embodied in the words and in the letters alone is a source of embarrassment to humanity, and atheism arises as a pained outcry to liberate man from this narrow and alien pit, to raise him from the darkness of focusing on letters and expressions, to the light of thought and feeling, finally to place his primary focus on the realm of morals. Atheism has a temporary legitimacy, for it is needed to purge away the aberrations that attached themselves to religious faith because of a deficiency in perception and in the divine service. This is its sole function in existence…’

Maybe the historical Jesus would see our belief in these ancient stories about God as a kind of idolatry. Maybe within our stubbornness and racial pride, he would see the ultimate blasphemy.

If you enjoyed this Blog, then you might like: What is Spirituality and can it be found in a book?

Watch: Did the Jesus of History invent Christianity?

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

The True Sayings of Jesus

Synoptic Gospels

The Sayings of the Jesus of History

This is a re-post from an old website of a blog we produced back in 2015 about the sayings of the Jesus of History. We hope you enjoy.

Before I go any further, I just want to make this clear; I am not saying anyone is wrong. Everyone says that their idea of “God” is right and unless you agree, you must be wrong. I am not going to waste my time and yours telling you something you probably won’t even hear. This blog is concerned with and discusses the words of a man not a God.

Albert Mohler33,000 denominations of Christians in the world argue about who “Jesus” was and interpret his story differently. Some people have even resorted to making up their own Gospels and put ‘better’ words in the mouth of ‘Jesus’. If you are the sort of person that needs to believe in the Cosmic Christ or you need to believe in nothing, you might want to stop reading here; you won’t like where I am going.

Assuming you are still with me, let’s put our ‘idols’ to one side and just look at the facts logically. Let’s look for the original teaching of the historical Jesus using textual criticism and biblical archaeology. This is not to say that anyone else’s view is wrong, I am just saying that I am not looking for the same things as they are. I am not looking for another ‘idol’; I am not looking for a ‘God’.

I am just looking to understand, if I can, the mind of the man that said,

“The Kingdom of God is within you

if, indeed, he did?

Kingdom of GodLooking at the Gospels we notice that there are two kinds of exposition. There are a lot of ‘narrative stories’ and there are a series of ‘sayings’. Reading the Gospels horizontally, the narrative stories do not line up. They contradict each other and make factual errors in geography and culture. Once we look at the chronological sequence of the texts we have to accept that these stories were obviously written by people who did not know Palestine in the first century and did not understand Jewish culture. What does become glaringly obvious is that the narrative stories follow the evolution of ideas within the nascent Roman Church culminating in the Gospel of John. So rather than represent the unique and coherent vision of one man at one time, the ‘narrative stories’ are evidence of an evolution of a belief.

The sayings, however, do line up; the sayings are shared by the Synoptic Gospels and also with external texts. Revealing that they were copied from a common source. The source exhibits a particularly Hebrew world view and its syntax suggests an Aramaic and Hebrew origin. What it does offer is a coherent vision, as if from one man with a unique and profound philosophy.

What is most interesting is if we look at the ‘sayings’ from the point of view of meaning something dramatic happens. Look at the ‘sayings’ separate from the narrative stories, you will soon see that the philosophy expounded by the ‘sayings’ almost exactly contradicts the philosophy of the ‘narrative stories’.

The evolved Christian dogma of the ‘Narrative Stories’

  1. We are creations of God and are separate from ‘him’ and each other
  2. God’s love is conditional on our obedience and worship
  3. Inherent nature of life is depraved and evil
  4. The ‘elect’ through ‘belief’ find ‘salvation’ from a sinful world, while the rest of creation is damned
  5. Our actions are irrelevant
  6. Cosmic Christ as a sacrifice for sin

Original ‘Sayings’ dogma

  1. We are all ONE with God and each other
  2. God’s love is unconditional and eternal – we judge ourselves
  3. Inherent nature of life is divine
  4. Light of the Creator is constantly available to all – requiring only that we turn toward him
  5. Our actions are vital to the evolution of the world
  6. The most important thing about the Jesus of History was his sayings

Don’t take my word for it – research the texts for yourself.

It seems sad to me that many of the ‘made-up’ Gospels of recent centuries, like the Gospel of the Holy Twelve and the Aquarian Gospel, while trying to reform the Church, ultimately cling to so much that is antithetical to the original sayings, like concepts of sacrifice and atonement, that they manage to refute themselves.

Just as Progressive Christians of today are fighting so hard to change the Pauline Church into their own image while ignoring the obvious fact that the philosophy inculcated within the original ‘sayings’ already gives them the affirmation they instinctively know they deserve.

Many people can only think in terms of the Cosmic Christ and that is fine for them. I cannot visualise the eternal in terms of a Native American Indian and that does not make me any less.

I offer these observations, only to gently suggest that for some of us there might be an alternative to Atheism, the Roman Church or Calvinistic Hell. From my research, I have concluded that just the ‘sayings’ alone will take me a lifetime to come to terms with and try to understand. I feel no need to add more.

If you enjoyed this Blog, then you might like to read: What did Jesus say and what did he actually mean?

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

 

Peshitta

The Great Hebrew Matthew Deception

One of the strangest things about studying the Jesus of History is the fact that every week, Christians go out of their way to tell me that the Gospels were originally written in Aramaic. As if that ‘fact’ alone itself validated Christianity.

At first, I was, not a little, confused but also, at the same time, encouraged that some people seemed to be thinking outside of the Christian box. I hoped that eventually they would notice the incredibly profound meanings behind the unique Hebrew sayings of the Jesus of History, hidden as they are within the Greek Gospels.

Sadly I was soon stripped of what little hope the Christian community had left me. In fact, my original optimism has since turned to resigned, and a somewhat fatalistic, despair. Why you may ask?

Well, as it turned out, this conspiracy has two flavours, Jewish and Arab, but only one substance. The advocates of the Aramaic or Hebrew first theory are not really interested in the Jesus of History at all. Despite the scholarly pretence, they are not interested in what the Jesus of History said, they are still – as ever – only interested in his death.

Does the language matter?

Which begs the question: “What differences does it make to Christians in what language the Gospels were originally written?”

Like most things to do with the Jesus of History, clarity comes from understanding historical context.

George Lamsa was an Assyrian author and a devoted member of the Syriac Church. He is largely responsible for publishing, in the mid 20th century, the idea that the Gospels were originally written in Aramaic (as the Peshitta of the Syriac Church) but it was the Jews for Jesus movement, founded by Martin ( Moishe) Rosen, who truly picked up the ‘Hebrew first’ ball and ran with it.

Rossen, whose Secular Jewish father saw all religions as a ‘Racket’, was a ‘graduate’ of the Northeasten Bible College. So what would a Jewish Baptist Minister have to gain by insisting that the Gospels were originally written in Hebrew and not Greek?

The sad truth is that Christians today hope to gain the same thing that the first Christians desperately wanted: credibility and authority by association and it all started with Saint Paul.

The Cult of Saint Paul:

For people to take his cult seriously, Saint Paul had to pass off his obviously Greek apocalyptic polytheistic mystery cult as an offshoot of the Hebrew prophetic tradition – despite the fact that his cult was philosophically and spiritually the antithesis of Hebrew spirituality. Why would he do such a thing? Because, in Rome, Hebrew mysticism was so fashionable.

To pass off a Greek cult as part of a Hebrew tradition, he used the legend of a school of Hebrew spirituality, which opposed the literalistic Judean fanatics behind the Jewish opposition to Rome.

He took their scriptures and twisted them just enough to convince the totally ignorant Romans that his cult had Hebrew spiritual authority.

Christianity didn’t start with the Gospel attributed to Matthew but it was, and is, this Gospel, more than any other, that Christians turn to historically validate their cult; like a market trader selling a fake antique sword by saying it was found on a battle field. The Gospel attributed to Matthew is officially known as the most ‘Jewish’ of the Gospels for that reason.

It follows then that in order to understand the ‘Hebrew First’ claim, we first have to examine the Gospel attributed to Matthew and to do that we will examine, in turn, the external and internal evidence for its validity.

External Evidence: Gospel of Matthew

Eusebius was a Greco-Roman of the fourth century and a fanatical Christian with a famously elastic relationship with the truth. He quoted Papias, another Greek, who wrote in the second quarter of the second century that a person called “Matthew had put the ‘Logia’ of the Jesus of History in an ordered arrangement in Hebrew.”

So what is a ‘Logia’ you may ask! A Logia is a collection of sayings or commentaries exactly like the words of the Rabbis that you find in the Talmud.

A logia is not a biographical narrative.

In the middle of the second century CE along came an unsigned Gospel that seemed to the Greco-Romans to have a more ‘Jewish’ theme. It was an extensive biographical narrative and inherently anti-Semitic but that didn’t stop the Christians trying to pass it off as the text to which Papias was referring. The Church fathers jumped on the document and published it under the name of Matthew. Since then, Christians insist that the Gospel of Matthew is a text written by a genuine Jew, but is it?

All of the earliest fragments that we have of the Gospel of Matthew text are written in Greek. The earliest Aramaic scraps found date no earlier than the third century. The Peshitta was an Aramaic copy of the Greek Gospels made for the Syriac Church written in fourth century Classical Syriac, as we will discuss in detail in a moment.

The Papias quote, provided by Eusebius, was obviously talking about a different document than the one the Christians call the Gospel of Matthew, so the external evidence leaves the Gospel of Matthew with no authority or provenance.

A copy of a copy!

As we will discuss in a moment, it is obvious that over 46% of the Gospel of Matthew has been copied directly from the Gospel of Mark or that both have copied from a third source. It is unlikely that an eyewitness to the life of the Jesus of History would have had a need to copy anything from someone else’s book.

So much for the external evidence, lets now turn to the internal evidence of the validity of the Gospel of Matthew.

Internal Evidence: Gospel of Matthew

Starting with Saint Paul, it became the Christian modus operandi to data mine the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) for verses they could butcher into supporting their Christ narrative.

The writer of the Gospel of Matthew approached this fraud with a unique mixture of childlike enthusiasm and an almost charming total ignorance of Hebrew history, culture, language or the geography of the southern Levant, as you will see in a moment.

Exhibit 1: The Virgin Birth

Having totally stuffed up the genealogy of Jesus right at the beginning of his Gospel, the writer of the Gospel attributed to Matthew lunged, like a Glasgow drunk in a chip shop, at the nearest prophecy he could find. Infamously, he settled on Isaiah 7:14 and quoted it in Matthew 1:23 “Lo! The Virgin shall conceive and shall bring forth a son, and they shall be calling his name Emmanuel…”

With this one verse in Isaiah, Matthew turned the Jesus of History into a Greek demigod.

Unfortunately for Christians, that is not what the verse in Isaiah says and that is not what it’s about.

In fact, the Prophet Isaiah was talking to Ahaz, the King of Judah, about a young girl they both knew who was already pregnant and the fact that the child would grow up to see the death of the Kings of Israel. The line reads “Therefore Yahweh will give you a sign: behold the young pregnant girl will give birth to a son and call his name ‘God is with us’. Before the lad is old enough to reject evil (13 years) the land will be free of those two kings.” (Paraphrased for brevity)

The entire point of the verse is the fact that it is a limited time-dependent prediction not a future prophecy of something that would happen over half a millennium later.

But that is not the main problem. To create the ‘Virgin’ birth Matthew had to translate the Hebrew word ‘Almah’, which can only mean ‘young girl’ as Virgin. But in Exhibit 2, as you will see, he must have seen that ‘Bethula’ and not ‘Almah’ means virgin. We can only conclude that Matthew was written by a fraud not just a fool.

Exhibit 2: The Slaughter of the Innocents

Matthew’s hunt for likely prophecies fell upon the writings of the Prophet Hosea 11:1 where he said using Hebrew poetry, “When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.”

In Matthew 2:15, the author left out the first part of this quote, as it clearly identifies the people of Israel as the son of God, and just quoted ‘Out of Egypt I called my son’.

In order to make this fraud work Matthew would need the Jesus family to willingly relocate to Egypt but in order to do that he had to give them a reason. He hit upon the genius idea of having King Herod the Great decide to kill all of the baby boys under two years old in the village of Bethlehem.

He even went for a 2 for 1 and came up with another dodgy prophecy.

In Matthew 2:18, the Author suggests that the Prophet Jeremiah predicted King Herod’s atrocity (31:15). “A sound in Ramah is heard, lamentation and much anguish…”

Probably attracted by the word ‘Virgin’ (Bethula – Strongs H1330 = Virgin) in a line just before. This quote was actually talking about the people of Israel returning from Babylon but ignoring that historical fact, we are left wondering where is Ramah?

Ramah is in fact a village 8km North of Jerusalem, while Bethlehem is actually located 10km South of Jerusalem. The alarm bells should be going off right now, as it’s obvious that Matthew had never been to Judah.

Are we to believe that the Jewish-Roman historian Josephus, who hated King Herod, with a passion, would fail to mention such an atrocity if it happened. Not even the Jewish people, in their own records, accused Herod of such an atrocity – we must therefore suspect that Matthew was telling fibs.

Census

The ploy that Matthew used to get the Jesus family to Bethlehem in the first place was another ridiculous lie. We are told that Emperor Augustus ordered Quirinius to conduct a worldwide census. The problem is that Herod died in 4 BCE, a full ten years before the Quirinius census, which only taxed people where they presently lived, not where their ancestors of a thousand years ago lived. So much for the ‘Slaughter of the Innocents’.

Exhibit 3: Nazareth

Putting all the obvious stuff aside and ignoring all of the other geographical errors of which there are many, Nazareth is still a howler. In Matthew 2:23 our hapless author says: “He dwells in a city (Polin) named Nazareth, so that it may be fulfilled which is declared by the Prophets that ‘A Nazarene shall He be called’.”

In the first century there was no city called Nazareth. It was abandoned in the 8th century BCE when the Assyrians destroyed the Kingdom of Israel, and wasn’t rebuilt until the second century CE but that is not the problem. There is nowhere in the writings of the Prophets that says the future Messiah or ‘Son of God’ would come from Nazareth.

Exhibit 4: The Passion of Christ

In Matthew 26:17, the author has the disciples of Jesus come to him on the first day of the festival of unleavened bread to ask where they were going to spend Passover. Here’s the problem. Pesach (Passover) is the 15th day of Nisan, which is the first full moon after the spring equinox. The day of preparation and sacrifice is the 14th day. The festival of unleavened bread, on the other hand, starts on the day after the day of Passover.

Over the centuries of Rabbinical Judaism, these two festivals have been amalgamated but in the first century they were still essentially separated, so Matthew’s statement would read to a Jew like saying to a Christian, “The disciples came to Jesus on Boxing day and asked where would he like to eat Christmas dinner.”

But the problems don’t stop here. The Jesus of History was arrested on the 15th day of Nisan (Hebrew days start with sundown not midnight) and was tried on the morning of Passover before the religious court. This model is historically and culturally ridiculous. No Jewish court would convene on the day of Passover.

 Exhibit 5: Anti-Semitic – the murder of Zechariah son of Berechiah

Apart from the obvious anti-Semitism of the whole ‘His Blood will be on us’ nonsense of 27:25, the killing of the prophets has been a torch that has lit a thousand crosses and ginned up innumerable Christian mobs over the years and thankfully it is a perfect example of how stupid Christianity really is.

Mathew has Jesus say in 23:35, “So on you (the Hebrew people) all the blood of the just, shed upon the Earth, from the blood of Abel until the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.”

Obviously, the Hebrew people had nothing to do with Cain killing Abel but putting that stupidity aside, the elephant in the temple is the fact that Zechariah son of Berechiah in 520 BCE wasn’t killed in the temple or otherwise – as far as we know he died of natural causes.

In fact, it was Zechariah son of Jehoiada who was stoned to death under the orders of King Joash in the early 8th century (Matthew was only over 200 years out). Even that death obviously had nothing to do with the Hebrew people. Ask yourself this, is it really likely that a Hebrew Rabbi would make such a silly mistake or say something so obviously anti-Semitic?

Being generous to Matthew, we can only say that given the political realities after the Bar Kokhba revolt of 136 CE, it had become expedient for the Greco-Roman Christians to put some clear water between themselves and the Jewish people from whom they had claimed religious authority.

Provisional Conclusions:

It must be obvious to you by now that, whoever the writer of the Gospel of Matthew was, he could not have been Jewish. The Gospel of Matthew is inherently anti-Semitic and written by an idiot who knew nothing about the Hebrew people, their culture, religion or their country. It is also textually evident that the writer used passages from the Hebrew Bible fraudulently. That fraud could not have been accidental. It was was part of a deliberate campaign by the Church.

Even to suggest that the Gospel attributed to Matthew was written by a Hebrew is obscene. Furthermore, it doesn’t matter whether he wrote in Hebrew, American English or Swahili. All that matters is what he wrote.

Even if Matthew had written his Gospel in Hebrew, the Gospel itself would still be obviously fraudulent.

However, in order to properly answer the question, we must now examine the idea that the Gospels were originally written in Aramaic.

The Theory of Peshitta Primacy:

Full disclosure, I am no expert on Aramaic but I know a man who is. Steve Caruso runs a site called Aramaicnt.org and he is a professional translator of Aramaic languages and has been for many years. I would recommend you check out his site. I will be paraphrasing his work here.

Steve writes:

For those of you who are not familiar with Peshitta Primacy, it is the belief that the Syriac Peshitta (the Syriac Bible) is the original text of the New Testament.  It is a movement that first gained traction with the works of the late George Lamsa, and is primarily a position popularized by individuals within the growing Messianic Judaism (Baptist Christians) movement in North America as well as some popular figures within the Assyrian Church of the East (Mar Eshai Shimun, etc.).

On its face, the Peshitta Primacy movement makes some seemingly compelling arguments that have to do with places where the Peshitta text displays interesting quirks of idiom (such as wordplay, puns, or ambiguous meanings) that the Greek text of the New Testament, as we have it today, misses or potentially mistranslates. However, when taking a closer look things are not quite what they seem.

Classical Syriac, which is the dialect that the Peshitta is written in is the most prolific classical Aramaic dialect. It had a ‘Golden Age’ between the 5th and the 8th century CE.

Since Syriac was such a prolific dialect, would Jesus have encountered Syriac where he taught and preached? As we’ve already established previously, if he were to come across it, it would have been Old Syriac. Where was Old Syriac spoken?

The kingdom-province of Osroene, with Edessa as its capital was some 350 miles to the north of Galilee and 400 miles from Jerusalem. It is this kingdom that was the cradle of the Syriac dialect and here it was primarily spoken.

Was it ever in Jerusalem or Galilee in the 1st century? Yes it was. But as a novelty.

Jesus of History adds:

It is important to note at this point that 75% of the Dead Sea Scrolls, which date between 200 BCE to 200 CE, were written in Hebrew. A proportion of them were written in Greek and the rest in Aramaic. Stone inscriptions were often made in Aramaic as Aramaic script is easier to scrape on stone than the precise letters of Hebrew.

Steve Caruso continues:

In fact, the Peshitta makes mistakes and mistranslates from the Greek so it’s obvious that it was indeed originally translated from the Greek.

Jesus of History adds:

In fact, the Syriac Church fully acknowledges the fact that the Peshitta was translated from a much latter Greek original and for this reason do not use it themselves.

However, it is true that there are parts of the Gospels, particularly the Gospel of Matthew and Luke that must have been direct translations from Hebrew or Aramaic vernacular.

For instance, Matthew 26:52 quotes Jesus as saying, “Return your sword to its place, for all those who take up the sword by the sword shall die.”

Steve Caruso continues:

In western Aramaic dialects the word saiyp can mean either “sword” or “end.” Given the context, this wordplay is undoubtedly intentional, and the use of b-saiyp as “in the end” is well attested in Rabbinic literature.

The Greek, of course, misses this right off the bat. Furthermore, this double meaning does not occur in (Classical) Syriac, or other eastern dialects from the era, so the Peshitta misses it completely, instead choosing to render both instances of saipa in the plural (which makes the pun impossible). This wordplay also does not occur in Hebrew.

 Jesus of History adds:

It is also important to add here that the existence of a ‘Possible’ pun in a language not written doesn’t prove that the text in question was written originally in that language. Puns are often unintended or irrelevant to the intention of the speaker. For this to be more conclusive we would have show at least one use of that literary device in the language in question to make a point that is coherent with the text in question.

So much for the Peshitta or Hebrew first theory but what of the fact that some of the sayings are obviously translated from Hebrew into Greek due to their philosophical paradigm?

 Hebrew Source of the Sayings:

I grew up in England but I speak Spanish. Years ago, when I owned a dive school on the coast, I thought in Spanish and dreamed in Spanish. Today unfortunately my mind has gone back to thinking and dreaming in English.

When I think of something I need to express, my world view, my vocabulary and syntax is entirely English but I mentally translate my ideas into Spanish. The words I say are Spanish but you can tell from the shape of my ideas, my strange vocabulary and word order that I am English.

The same is true of Spanish people living in England. In fact, this is so true that a good writer or actor can recreate these linguistic signifiers to create a fictitious Spanish character that looks and sounds believable.

It is for this reason that most Biblical Scholars who refer to the Greek texts agree that the Gospels were originally written in Greek. The shape of the ideas, the vocabulary and syntax overall suggest the work of highly educated Greek minds writing highly literate Greek texts.

Fawlty Towers

However it is true that the authors of the Synoptic Gospels did try to adopt an Olde Worlde Hebraic or Semitic style something like diction of Manuel, the Spanish waiter in comedy called ‘Fawlty Towers’. Manuel was in fact a posh Englishman trying to sound like a Catalonian peasant. The character had a faux Spanish flavour. And so it is with the Synoptic Gospels.

But, and this is a big but, the ideas those pretend Hebrew narrative texts contained were inherently anti-Semitic and the exact opposite of anything a Jew would say or write. It is for this reason that we can say that, based on philosophical coherence, the Gospels were created and written in Greek by Greeks who were trying to sound Jewish.

However, that being said, what is obvious is that some of the sayings attributed to Jesus, which are common to several texts, contain meanings that run contrary to the Christian narrative and can only be properly understood in the context of the modern mystical teachings of the Hebrew community, which indicates a common Hebrew paradigm.

The True Sayings of the Jesus of History, as I explain in detail in my book of the same name, are based on a uniquely Galilean vision of God and our relationship with him. They also contain a unique style and sense of humour.

It is no accident then that the Gospel of Luke, which has by far the most sayings common to the Q-Source, has the most ‘Semitisms’ despite the fact that Luke was a Greek writing in perfect Greek. This fact was cited by H.F.D. Sparks the noted Oxford Biblical Scholar nearly a hundred years ago.

To be fair to Luke, the amount of Hebraisms in his text is not a product of his fraud but through his attention to detail. This proves that many of the Semitisms are a product of the Synoptic Gospel writers copying from a common Hebrew source some of the words attributed to Jesus (about 18% of the total red letter sayings).

Conclusion:

So to answer the question were the Gospels originally written in Hebrew or Aramaic the answer has got to be an emphatic no! But, at the same time, it is evident that the Logia copied by the Gospel writers in the Synoptic Gospels were originally spoken in Aramaic and Hebrew.

But, ultimately, from the Christian point of view, what does it even matter what language the Gospels were written in? They are not interested in what he had to say?

For the Church it has always been about ‘Proving’ the validity of their chain of transmission. One of the ways that they have done this is to try to get themselves and their texts as close to the source of their authority. Always they date earlier and try to prove that the first Christians were Jews.

As we have seen, the Church has never given a damn about what the actual Jesus of History said or what the Hebrew scriptures actually say. For them it was all just so much white noise. All that matters for them – then, and now – is what Christianity looks like – the optics. And it is for this reason that the pseudo scholars of Christian academia are happy to fraudulently translate the texts that they tell the rest of the world are the ‘Word of God’.

If you enjoyed this Blog, then you might like to read: Dr Steven DiMattei asks “What is the Bible?”

 

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

The True Sayings of Jesus

Ian Fleming

Did Jesus Really Exist?

Can you prove to me that your grandfather actually existed?

We have been using photography for over a hundred and fifty years but despite this technological advantage many of us would struggle to prove that our grandparents really existed. What proof could there be for the life of an ordinary person? If not photographs what exactly would convince us?

Map of Sri Lanka (Ceylon)

Map of Sri Lanka (Ceylon). Detail from the World Atlas (Webster’s Concise.)

Where is Ceylon?

My grandfather was born in a country called Ceylon in the late nineteenth century. Now, just over a hundred years later, most people don’t even know that the country ever existed let alone know that my grandfather lived and died there.

I have textual evidence that my grandfather existed, I have his name on my father’s birth certificate but that doesn’t prove ‘who’ my grandfather was? My father and his brother were both as brown as two antique chesterfields but my father’s brother refused to believe that his family came from the colonies. I had evidence but I didn’t have proof enough to make him reconsider his preconceived ideas. All I had was textual evidence, assertion and conjecture. That my grandfather served as an officer in the First World War, was wounded and married his English nurse I can assert based on family stories but I have no ‘proof’.

When it comes to Jesus most people have preconceived ideas that are almost impregnable to persuasion. The further we slide down the slope of cultural decline into the bottomless pit of Cultural Marxism people feel increasingly uncomfortable hearing opinions, which differ from the ones they have been programmed with.

Can we trust the Bible?

For some, the Bible is enough but we have already seen that, of itself, the Bible is an unreliable authority. After two thousand years, what evidence could there be for the life of an ordinary man? What evidence would be enough to convince us of his existence?

The first question we have to ask is whom are we referring to when we say ‘Jesus’? Jesus is not a Jewish name. The name Jesus was invented by Paul for his Gentile audience. Jesus was not the son of Mr and Mrs Christ of Number One, The Manger, Bethlehem.

If we follow the streams of Christian belief backwards in time, we invariable find ourselves face to face with Paul of Tarsus. In his letter to the Galatians (1.11) Paul confirms “But I certify to you, brethren, that the gospel which I preach is not of any man For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by a vision of Jesus Christ.”

Paul created a fictional character called Jesus Christ based on the Jewish Rabbi called Yeshua bar Yosef whom he had, by his own assertion, never met. The Rabbi’s brother, James the Just, was still in charge of the Nazarene Yeshiva in Jerusalem. That Paul was teaching to non-Jews a long way from Judea gave him a lot of leeway but ultimately while people who had known the historical Rabbi still lived he had to restrict his story to that which could not, immediately, be disproved. It was for this reason that the earliest gospel and letters did not include witness statements about the resurrection. The five hundred witnesses and the Holy Ghost were added much later when the problematic Jews who had known the Rabbi were all safely dead.

Ian Fleming is 007

Just as James Bond is a fictional character loosely based on Ian Fleming’s own life. It is interesting to note that in two thousand years time, there will be more evidence for the life of James Bond than there will ever be for the life of Ian Fleming.

So if we are looking for evidence for the life of Jesus Christ, born of a virgin, who died for our sins, a sane man would have to admit that there is none. On the contrary, there is overwhelming evidence that this was a fictional character created by Paul and what a profitable scam it was.

“Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come. And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your ‘liberality’ unto Jerusalem.” Corinthians 1.16

Nice work if you can get it!

So if we leave the fictional character of Jesus Christ to one side, what evidence is there for the Jewish Rabbi called Yeshua bar Yosef and if there is evidence how useful is it?

I agree with Dr Bart D. Ehrman and try to prioritise evidence based on the following criteria:

  • The earliest sources are best.
  • Hostile witnesses are better than positively biased statements.
  • It is possible to accept a positive witness if you can identify the person’s agenda.
  • Lots of contemporary mentions are also really useful.

An almost contemporary account by a man who hated Christians as part of his profession, so could safely be counted as a hostile witness, is the Tacitus the Roman Senator, orator and ethnographer. He was also one of the best Roman historians.

He mentions “Christus who was executed by Pontius Pilate and from whom the Christian’s derived their name.”

Tacitus as a contemporary of Paul, could easily have debunked the story as baseless, if he suspected that this was the case. In the late first century there were a lot of people still alive who would have known if Jesus, or rather the person upon whom the cult was based. Further, it would have been pointless basing a fictitious cult on a fictitious person. You need a reasonably famous person as a basis for a myth in order to convince people that you are not lying. (Paul spent an extraordinary amount of his time trying to convince people that he was telling the truth.)

Who the hell is James Bond?

As the Proconsul of Asia, it is likely that Tacitus would have had the opportunity to question people directly; so if there had been any evidence against the historicity of Rabbi Yeshua then I feel that he would have found it. That Paul based his cult on an actual person is therefore obvious. If Paul had turned up in Damascus, after his epiphany, saying “I’ve just had a vision of James Bond” I’m sure a lot of Jews would have said, “Who the hell is James Bond?” People only took notice of him because he wandered into town saying that he had a vision of a person they knew had existed.

Our next ‘Witness’ is Josephus, a Jewish Roman historian. Josephus refers to James the Just, the leader of the Ebionite/Nazarene movement who taught in the Temple in his history of all things Jewish.

Another James

Josephus mentions “James the brother of Jesus who was called Mashiach.” As James (Ya’akob) is a common Jewish name and the father was Yosef, also a common name, Josephus makes the connection to Yeshua as a distinction. This would assume that most people would have heard of the Nazarene Rabbi unlike James Bond.

Josephus grew up in a priestly family in first century Judea so he would have every opportunity to know if the physical story of ‘Jesus’ was baseless.

The earliest Rabbinic texts content themselves with disparaging Jesus as a Roman bastard, they never deny his existence. Even today Jews hate Jesus with a passion. The simplest way to destroy a man is to deny his existence. If Rabbinical Judaism could have proved the fiction they would have done so.

In the earliest sources no hostile Pagan or Jew opposed Jesus’ historicity or even questioned it.

If anyone had a reason to hate the new anti-Semitic cult of Christianity it was the Jews and yet they treat him as a fully historical person.

Lucian of Smosata (115 to 200 CE) refers to Jesus with contempt in his satire.

Jesus Family TombTalpiot Tomb

So much for textual proof. We also now have archaeological evidence for the life of the Jewish Rabbi in Talpiot. Despite the ‘experts’ immediately calling this tomb a fake or irrelevant, it has been proven to be legitimate in court but no retraction has been printed.

We know from Josephus again, that the Jews had won the right to have their crucified dead buried.

“The Jews are so careful about funeral rites that even those who are crucified because they were guilty are taken down and buried before sunset.” (Josephus in War 44.5.2)

Our best evidence for the manner of crucifixion comes from a heel bone with a nail stuck in it, which was found in an ossuary and was obviously therefore buried. So we have a tomb of the right date with all the names of the Jesus family including his wife and son.

PapyrusJesus had a Wife

We have the ‘Jesus wife’ Papyrus, which has also been proven to be legitimate although a lot of experts are still blogging away in their bedrooms trying to discredit it.

So what is the truth? I guess it will always depend on the question!

If you are asking for proof of the life of James Bond, it will depend on what you will accept as evidence. If you want to believe in James Bond then you will accept the books of his adventures as proof of his life. If you don’t want to believe in James Bond then even meeting Ian Fleming would not change your mind.

As it is with the fictional character of Jesus Christ. If you want to believe in him, then the New Testament will be enough for you but if you don’t want to believe in him then no amount of proof would be enough.

On the other hand, if you are asking about Ian Fleming, then we can have a conversation. There is a surprising amount of evidence for the life of the first century Jew called Rabbi Yeshua bar Yosef, who was the brother of James and upon whose name a cult was based.

There is certainly more evidence for the life of the Jewish Rabbi than there is for my poor Grandfather. It does occur to me that just because people no longer believe in the paradise called Ceylon, it still does actually exist, which must be relief to the pilots that try to land their planes there.

Research Paper: Did He Really Exist – The Jesus Family Tomb

Blog: The Jesus of History

Blog: The Jesus Family Tomb

Watch: The Jesus Family Tomb Reopened Part 1 and Part 2

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

 

Trigger Warning

Jesus of History – Trigger Warning!

If you hear the word ‘Jesus’ and find you have uncomfortable feelings and urges, you may have been traumatised in your past and you may be suffering from mental health issues of which you are not aware. Many people from a religious background have suffered irreparable damage to their minds during childhood. Often, victims are not aware of this problem until later in life when they notice problems concentrating on any opinion they don’t already hold.

Before continuing to read my blog please review the following self test:

When you hear the name ‘Jesus,’ do you experience any of the following troubling symptoms:

  • Do you feel an overwhelming urge to swear?
  • Do you feel the need to attack either people or objects?
  • If you are close to a computer at the time of the attack, do you feel compelled to type in capitals or write LOL for no apparent reason?

Depending on your cultural background, you may find yourself wanting to keep repeating the following irrational sayings:

  • Jesus died for our sins!
  • I’m washed in the blood of the lamb!
  • Jesus wasn’t Jewish!
  • You may even find yourself shouting, ‘He never existed’ over and over again even when you are alone!

If you’ve answered ‘Yes’ to two or more of the above questions, you may be suffering from ‘Religious Myopia’ and you should immediately consult a mental health professional.

Please do not read my blog! You will be exposed to possibly lethal doses of new ideas.

Scientists have been working tirelessly with people who exhibit some or all of the symptoms of Religious Myopia and no matter how far advanced your symptoms are, it is important to never lose hope.

Doctors have been experimenting for the last few years trying to find a cure for this debilitating disease. Controversially, packs of feral dogs are being used in these experiments. These dogs experience very similar symptoms to those unfortunate victims of this antisocial disease. As soon as dogs hear the sound of a car engine, an insane aggression seems to overtake them and they are compelled to run down the street, whilst trying to bite the tyres of the offending car. This is very similar to the reaction innocent Facebook users may experience when they read the word ‘Jesus’.

Great strides forward have been made in the treatment of victims of RM. Doctors have found that daily exposure to higher and higher doses of contrary views, coupled with self-administered electric shock therapy has offered an almost normal life to many people who would have been considered hopeless ‘morons’ ten years ago.

The managers of The Jesus of History Project issue the following warning:

You read this blog at your own risk!

If you did enjoy this Blog then you might like to read:

Blog: Are you Spiritually Colour Blind?

Blog: Map or Instruction Manual

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

Historical Fiction Book: The Last Letters of Jesus – The Secret of the Nazarenes

Nubian Goat

Did Jesus believe in Sacrifice?

Two weeks ago it was Easter and greeting cards and emails were flying around the world, rejoicing in the death and the story of a resurrection of the Galilean Jew. Easter CardThese stories are based on the ideas of human sacrifice, universal sin, and vicarious atonement. These concepts are entirely pagan and against everything the Galilean Jews stood for. The movement that the historical Jesus belonged to rejected the cult of sacrifice and it is very possible that it was this rejection that led to the death of their leader. It seems ironic that the world celebrates ideas, which are the exact opposite to those held by the Jewish teacher and prophet by whose blood they expect to be saved from a damnation that exists only in the minds of their own priests. It is always the priests that warn us of an imagined catastrophe and then prescribe the means of our salvation. Why is it that their prescriptions always involve someone else’s blood?

Snowy Mountains

Snowy MountainToday, the mountains of Andalucía are capped with the last of the winter snow. Outside my window, I can see an eagle effortlessly hunting in the afternoon breeze. Not far away I can hear the cheerful clanging of goat bells. Any journey in the sierra will inevitably involve waiting for a herd of goats to get out of the road. As much as I love horses and dogs I have to admit I have a soft spot for goats. The most cheerful and carefree animal in the world has got to be the Nubian goat.

Goat of Azazel

This morning I watched Paco, our local Sheppard, whilst he tried to chase one of his Nubian goats out of the way of my car and back to the herd. The goat kept doubling back toward the bush he had set his mind on eating. Watching Paco valiantly trying not to lose his patience with his headstrong Nubian, it made me think of the Goat of Azazel.Goats in Andalucia

On Yom Kippur, the Torah commands the Jewish people to choose two identical goats. Dice are thrown to decide which one will be the ‘sin offering’ and which one will be the ‘Goat of Azazel’. The goat chosen for a ‘sin offering’ has its throat cut and its blood is used to purify the altar. It also is supposed to pay God back for all the sins of the people. That was the lucky goat.

The other goat, the Goat of Azazel, has a red string tied around its horns. The priest then lays his hands on the now slightly confused goat. Magically, by the power of his prayer, the priest transfers all the sins of the people into the goat. Later the goat is sent out into the desert alone loaded down by a year’s worth of sin. (Leviticus 16) “That’s not too bad,” I hear you say.

Unfortunately, the scribe who wrote Leviticus didn’t know much about goats. The first thing you need to know about goats is that they are sociable and friendly. They like human company. More often than not, the goat used to make its own way back into town bringing all that sin back with it. To prevent over friendly goats from returning, the High Priest decided that it would be a safer idea to throw them off a cliff. Sadly for the goat, Mount Azazel doesn’t have any really steep cliffs. Priests being ever resourceful, all they did was make sure that the goat had ‘shattered his limbs’. An agonising death was inevitable.

No Sacrifice, No Christianity

This begs the question, did Jesus support the idea of sacrifice and did he throw goats from cliffs? After all, sacrifice is the cornerstone of Christianity. 1 CorinthiansPaul based his cult on a dead Rabbi and without the idea of a sacrifice there is no Christianity, or so he says. (1 Corinthians 15:14) Most evangelical Christians revel in images of lambs, sacrifice and the blood of Jesus.

As we have explored elsewhere, Jesus was part of a movement and I will show that it was already at least 1500 years old when he joined his cousin. John the Baptist was the Rabbi to a Yeshiva that would be considered vegan today. He taught in the wilderness and did not make sacrifices. Most Christians seem to assume that this was just his personal preference or an eccentricity, but I suspect that these facts hint at a deeper story.

After Jesus died, for some thirty years, most of his students were Jewish and they continued this doctrine of loving kindness. They believed that the books of the Torah had been forged. They rejected the cult of animal sacrifice and would not eat meat. (The panarion of epiphanius of salamis – against Nazoreans.)

So why would Jesus and his Galileans be vegetarian and against animal sacrifice while the Priests in Jerusalem were rather fond of it? What was going on? None of this is explained in the Synoptic Gospels? In fact, it is rather obvious that the church was and remains quite keen on the idea of sacrifice, if not the actual goat throwing.

Ask a Satanist

So why do people throw goats off cliffs? If you are lucky enough to know a Satanist, you could always ask them why they like to ritually kill things. Failing that, the anthropological answer posits three answers that spring to mind:

  • People sacrifice things in order to bridge the perceived gap between themselves and God. Killing can often make people feel closer to the divine.
  • The other most popular reason is to make up for a person’s feeling of inadequacy. To put balm on our existential angst. Or as they say in Essex, “To cheer us up!”
  • Grand ritual and ritual that is emotionally charged (animal sacrifice) is a great way to unite and manipulate people. If you can persuade people to bring all their sacrifices to you, it is also a great revenue stream, (more of that later). To this day, in India they have a kind of annual ‘world Olympics’ of animal sacrifice.

In my opinion the cult of sacrifice, be it human or animal, is a symptom of our relationship with God and an expression of what we perceive him/her to be. It is, therefore, an indication of the spiritual evolution of a people.

The Kingdom of Israel

The first archaeological evidence for the Kingdom of Israel is the Merneptah Stele. This was dated to 1205 BC. I would argue that the Hyksos expulsion was in fact the basis for the exodus story and this was in the time of Pharaoh Ahmose, several hundred years earlier. El was the God of Moses. (Exodus 3) El Shaddai in Aramaic means ‘The Lord of the Mountain’. The name was later pluralised and become ‘Elohim’, which hints at the idea that El was everything and everywhere. It is both singular and plural at the same time. Very similar to the Buddhist idea of ‘Lord of the House’.

(“It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here is Elohim, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.” 1 Kings 12:28).

The Kingdom of Israel extended from the Lebanon down to the northeast border of Egypt. It is hinted that Kind David and then his son worshiped in groves and burnt incense to this unseen God (Kings 21.3). This motif reoccurs within the Torah, in asides that have escaped the redacting pen of the scribes. Moses, King David, his son King Solomon and eventually Jesus are all, at some point, accused by the scribes of variations of ‘idolatry’, astrology, believing in Angels and Demons, praying in groves or in high places and offering incense.

When King Solomon’s son lost control of the kingdom, several tribes rebelled and the civil war divided the kingdom. The Tribe of Judah set up a rival kingdom in the south. They predictably called this new kingdom, Judah and its capital was Jerusalem.

The greatest threat to the kingdoms of Israel (North) and Judah (South) was Assyria (East). It was the superpower of that time. By this time, Israel and Judah had been at war for hundreds of years.

The Destruction of Israel

The Assyrians attacked Israel and King Hezekiah of Judah stood by and did nothing. Israel was destroyed and its people carried off into slavery. Hezekiah decided to reform his people’s religion. He destroyed the serpent staff of Moses (one of their greatest treasures) destroyed the groves and high places where the people prayed and offered incense. He instituted the cult of animal sacrifice. Despite the king’s best efforts, the Assyrians soon turned their attention to Judah. After a bit of a battle and lots of huffing and puffing, King Hezekiah took all of the gold from the temple, even going back for the gold off the doors and offered it as a tribute to the King of Assyria, obviously hoping he might go away.

Despite the amount of gold offered, the King of Assyria (who was no gentleman) was still dreadfully rude before he left. (2 Kings 18) Not surprisingly, King Hezekiah died not long after, probably of embarrassment. The worship of Elohim was reinstated and everybody jogged along nicely but then came Josiah and the sinister priest Hilkiah who began the worship of Yahweh and the sacrifices began again. Josiah began the rebuilding of a temple that Solomon had previously built. It was during these works that the priests conveniently ‘found’ the books of Moses (whose staff they had not long ago destroyed) Kings 2.22.

These books underpinned the sacrificial system and the rights of the priesthood to control the country. They effectively create a theocracy. Judah then set about what was left of Israel in an effort to force them to adopt their new cult. The Israelis were not very keen on the idea. Jerusalem was a long way to go to kill a goat.

The books of Moses talk of Yahweh, a God of judgement, fear, sacrifice and genocide and it was these books the Nazarene movement rejected, as has the modern West. The clues are in the Bible if you can read it with an open mind.

For the alternative to this God of sacrifice, there are clues in the words of the Prophets.

The Prophets

In Amos 5:25-27 there is an interesting quote that supports Jewish rejection of animal sacrifice and it substantiates the charge of the falsification of the books.

“Did you bring to me sacrifices and offerings during the forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel? You shall take up Sakkuth your king, and Kaiwan your star-god, your images, which you made for yourselves; therefore I will take you into exile beyond Damascus.”

From this text written around 700 BC we can assume that it was common knowledge in Israel that sacrifices had not been instituted by Moses.

Jeremiah 7:12 also echoes this idea in a rant against King Josiah and the sacrifices he and his priest Hilkiah have instigated. 600 BC

“But when I brought your forefathers out of Egypt, I gave no commands about whole-offerings and sacrifice, I said not a word about them.” Obviously Jeremiah hadn’t got Hilkiah’s memo!

Genesis can be read to imply that the pre flood diet was meat free.

‘And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.”

Jesus himself, is reported as saying in the Pauline texts, “You have made the temple into an abattoir. The house of God will be a house of prayer.” (I paraphrase)

Eusebius recounts in his Ecclesiastical History 5:1.26, when a woman is invited, under torture, to save herself by denouncing Christians for eating babies she replies, “How, could those eat children who do not think it lawful to taste the blood even of irrational animals?”

Isaiah 66:3 “he that slaughters an ox is like him who kills a man.”

So much for sacrifice but what about the reason for it. John the Baptist, Rabbi Yeshua and then his brother James all taught, as had Solomon and King David, that El does not judge us; we judge ourselves. By the standard we judge, we will be judged. Bad things happen in life to those who pray and those who do not. Bad things happens to those who sacrifice and those who do not. Bad things happened before the flood and afterward.

Repentance

When your relationship with God is defined by a personal relationship and repentance there is no need for sacrifice. When Rabbi Yeshua says Abba in Aramaic, the father he is speaking of is Elohim, the God of Moses, of the mountains and high places, he is the God which animates all of us.

According to the Nazarenes, where there is sin only the guilty can pay and only repentance can restore the balance.

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, brother of Jesus.

John the Baptist taught that it is living water that purifies not blood. Repentance pays the price that no other man can pay.

So what of the Goat of Azazel? Our cheerful Nubian goat running rings around Paco is safe for the moment but it was upon the forged books of Moses that the Prophet Muhammad based Sharia law.

The Jews of Medina had outgrown the forged books of Moses and refused its barbaric punishments. Unfortunately, Muhammad was proud to reinstate the killing – Quran, surah 5 (Al-Ma’idah) ayat 43.

The Jesus of history and everything he taught was the opposite of such arbitrary punishments and the power of a blood stained theocracy. There is no logical support for the idea that Jesus supported sacrifice or viewed himself as being one. If people would only listen to him nobody would ever throw a goat off a cliff ever again. Problem is it would destroy the Easter greeting card business overnight!

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

The True Sayings of Jesus

If you enjoyed this Blog, you might like to read: Animal Sacrifice is Evil

Ishihara

Are You Spiritually Colour Blind?

There are over 33,000 denominations of Christian in the world and each one believes and asserts that they alone have the truth. One would assume that 32,999 must be wrong! Muslims are instructed to convert or kill the world and it is a sentiment many non-Muslims seem to share. Why can’t we just concentrate on our own correction? World Christian EncyclopediaThe Buddhist model is primarily aimed at saving oneself but they see the world as a punishment, a prison to be escaped from. So for Christians, salvation is an ‘invitation only’ club while Buddhists concentrate on their own escape plan!

I suspect that for many, the problem might lay in the direction in which we look. Some people want to have their opinions handed to them. Life is a complicated and messy place where we know from practical experience that nothing is what it seems to be; it must therefore be a great comfort to believe verbatim whatever you are told to believe.

Our own Idol

The Reverend Mark Driscoll put it very well when he usefully pointed out that yoga is satanic! He spoke for most Christians, I think, when he said, “We go OUT to Jesus, not IN toward God.” (I paraphrase).

The problem is that whatever you go ‘OUT’ to is ultimately a construction of your own mind. For Christians, Jesus becomes whatever they imagine him to be. If you are gay, Jesus loves gays. Conversely, if you hate gays, suddenly Jesus hates gays. ‘Jesus’ becomes an extension of the individual ego and as an extension of ones own ego; we feel that we must defend it violently. What ever you make into your own idol, it will only ever be a shadow of yourself.

Jewish teachings offer information about this life and as a fundamentally Jewish teaching, the sayings of Rav Yeshua, it is evident, are entirely focused on our own relationship with the world around us. His sayings are not easy to understand because in many ways, like an opticians colour blindness test, they depend on our ability to see clearly.

Ishihara Test

In the Ishihara colour blindness test, if you have eyes to see, what seems to be random and meaningless dots, quickly resolves into hidden brightly coloured numbers. According to Rav Yeshua, for some the ‘numbers’ hidden in his teachings resolve slowly. They may take a lifetime to become clear. Unfortunately, many lack the humility, patience, and faith to wait.

Too many people just want to be told the number. Looking in the wrong direction they are effectively incapable of seeing the numbers for themselves. For this reason, many people are spiritually colour blind. For them the world is a hell to be escaped and sadly for others it is a meaningless accident.

One Hand ClappingKoans

In the past, at many Buddhist monasteries, a postulant would have to answer a paradoxical question in order to demonstrate their intuitive ability and to reveal their spiritual awareness prior to being admitted for training. “What is the sound of one hand clapping” is one of the most famous Koan questions.

I would respectfully suggest that if you need to find validation in “scripture”, if you need to be told what to think, or worst of all, if you feel an overwhelming urge to attack other people for their understanding of the Koan, then the teachings of the Nazarene Yeshiva might not be of much use to you at this point in your journey.

 

 

To get the most out of the book, “The True Sayings of Jesus,” you will need to be brutally honest with yourself and most of all, be patient and have faith that the answer will come. Your answer might not be the same as mine but that is fine too – your view, when shared in love, adds to the prosperity of the universe. The miracle is that when you look in the right direction, we are all connected to universe.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened for you.”

He said, “What is the kingdom of God like? To what should I compare it? It is like a grain of mustard, which a man took and sowed in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.”

 

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

The True Sayings 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.

Q-Document

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

Bob Marley

Did Jesus come from Nazareth?

When people called Jesus ‘The Nazarene’ what did that mean? If you are reading something from long ago or words that have been translated, it is always dangerous to assume you understand what the writer meant without asking and checking.

No Woman, No Cry

As an example, I always believed Bob Marley was a saint! Well almost! I loved the smoother Reggae of his later Chris Blackwell work. Unlike Saint Bob, I was never much of a hit with the ladies. His song, ‘No, woman, no cry’ comforted me on many a lonely night believing, as I did, that Saint Bob was confirming that a man was better off without a woman, which was a situation I found myself in with depressing regularity.

When I got older and happened to see the song title written with the requisite English grammar, I realised that I had spent most of my life misunderstanding Saint Bob. His meaning was, in fact, the opposite of my understanding. He was advising his partner not to cry!!

Saint Bob and I shared a language (sort of) but I still managed to spectacularly misunderstand him.

Nasarene

Similarly, the Greco-Roman writers of the Gospels inherited a term for their Christ that they didn’t understand either and were too embarrassed to ask about. In the Gospel of Mark, the Jesus of History is referred to as the ‘Nasarene’ with no explanation. The later Gospel writers assume that the term ‘Nasarene’ is an address rather than a title and invent a city to suit.

Strangely, in the Middle East, Nasrani is still the term by which Arabs refer to Christians.

The Hebrew, ( נוֹצְרִי ), No-Tsri, is often translated into Greek as Nazarênas or Nazõraias and it is extremely important to note the additional vowels makes the translation from Nazarene to imply “from Nazareth” extremely unlikely.

Second TempleBy the time they wrote their Gospels in the late first century and early second century, Nazareth was a thriving Roman town. They were not to know that when the Rabbi, in whose Greek name they pray, was alive, the village of Nazareth was abandoned and had been since the Assyrians had devastated Israel five hundred years earlier.

I believe that the second century copyists had to make sense of an obscure Hebrew term, which they lacked the cultural background to understand. Unfortunately, due to the epidemic of anti-Semitism in the early Roman church, Christians didn’t want to ask the Jews for their advice. If, indeed, they could have found any alive. Therefore, they extrapolated a term that was a religious designation (Nazarene) into a reference to an origin of location (from Nazareth).

Lies compounded errors, and over the years as people try to make sense of the term the story gets more ridiculous.

Isaiah

In the Gospel of Mathew, the writer explains for us “he will be called a Nazarene” as a quote from one of the Prophets but the problem is no such quote exists. In the interests of fairness to Paul, it is sometimes suggested that the quote refers to Isaiah 11 “A (Ne-Tser) ‘branch’ from the stump of Jesse.” In actual fact this is a Hebrew play on words to define religious observance. Isaiah was written without chapters so you have to read the entire text in context and anyone who takes the time to wade through the whole book would agree that Isaiah is ONLY talking about the Jewish people, not a future Mashiach.

Nazareth was destroyed by the Assyrians and its people taken into slavery in 740 BC. Today, after a hundred years of investigation, the archaeology confirms that the village of Nazareth was abandoned between 700 BC and 70 AD. The church of the Annunciation is built on top of a second century Roman ruin. Most impartial archaeologists agree that the site was a small farm during the early part of the first century. Indeed, the farm features in the book, ‘The Last Letters of Jesus.’

NazarethNazareth

It was not just Matthew who was a little over eager in his translations, in the Gospel of Luke, 4:16-30 Luke puts Jesus in Nazareth and tells us the town is built on a hill and the irate inhabitants try to throw Jesus off the cliff. Unfortunately, the settlement of Nazareth is in a valley and the nearest hill is Mount Tabor over six kilometres away and the nearest cliff is above Magdala, 21 km away.

It is a shame that two thousand years of misunderstanding of this term has led Christians to ignore the actual words of Jesus in order to concentrate on assumption and mistranslation. The historical Jesus was part of a religious movement that was already old (Elohist) when he took over from John the Baptist. When Jesus died, his brother James ‘the Just’ took over leadership of the movement and it was to James that everyone looked for final judgement (not Peter) [Acts 15:19].

Second Temple

The Essene/Nazarene/Ebionite movement that James belonged to was so popular that when the priests of the Temple stoned James to death (62 AD) the people rose up and expelled the Romans and the priesthood whom they had supported (Origen on Josephus). This uprising eventually led to the Romans destroying Judah and the Second Temple.

The misunderstanding of the term, ‘Nazarene’ facilitated the separation of the Jesus of History from his Jewish roots. In the end ‘Nazareth’ meant whatever the priests said it meant and ultimately it meant nothing.

In fact, it is far more likely that the Hebrew term, Na-Sar, which refers to a tower or siege work is the root of the term ‘Nasarene’ as it alludes to the writings of the Prophet Habakkuk 2-1. Therefore the term would have meant ‘The Keepers of the Watchtower’.

Just as with my misunderstanding of Saint Bob’s song ‘No, woman, no cry’, I had taken a song with a beautiful and deep meaning and by my hasty assumptions turned it into a meaningless contradiction and so it is with Christianity and the Jesus of History.

The Last Letters of Jesus: The Secret of the Nazarenes

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

The True Sayings of Jesus

Sin

What did Jesus teach about Sin?

It’s not often that transcendental truth can be found in the eye of a Twitter storm Twitter Stormbut Joan Bakewell the famous face of the British progressive left, recently and unwittingly spoke for Jesus when she had the courage (or stupidity) to suggest that anorexia is a product of our culture’s self-obsession.

Sin

“But since when is anorexia a sin?” I hear you quite rightly ask.

There does seem to be a lot of confusion about what ‘sin’ actually is. Most people will quickly answer,

“It’s a sin to break the law!”

But then we would have to ask, “Whose law?”

Laws

Laws are written by our governments but worryingly, the governments of the West take things that were sins and, almost overnight, turn them into virtues (like being Gay or Transgender). On the other hand, they take things that were virtues and turn them into crimes (like free speech and self-defence).

In America it is now a sin, punishable by death and up to a hundred years in solitary confinement, to be born white and male. The Twitter mob proscribe new words every day. What you could say yesterday is a sin today. In Twitter land, I have committed a sin by even thinking that.

The Prophet Muhammad obviously foresaw the rise of the Twitterarti and he said,

“I speak for God. What I say is a sin will be a sin forever!”

At this point, it is important for the Twitterarti to note that the Prophet got last dibs and no crosses count!

Islamic law (Sharia) in many ways is similar to Jewish law (Halakha) so why can’t we just leave it to those two religious heavyweights to sort it out? If you’ve asked that question, you’ve obviously never seen anyone stoned to death. If we follow the letter of the holy books we would have to kill people for gathering firewood on Saturdays and execute our daughters for getting raped.

Christians

What about the Christians you cleverly ask!

Unfortunately, the Christians are not sure if ‘sin’ is something you catch, are born with, or something you do! The only thing they are sure of is that you’ve done it and you need their help.

“Ok then! We give up! What did Jesus teach, smarty-pants?”

I’m glad you asked! The words that we can reliably attribute to the historical Jesus or at least the religious movement of which he was a part are impossible to understand without first understanding Jewish thought, humour and the Secrets of Kabbalah. This is the reason that the Roman Church quickly gave up trying to understand the Jewish Jesus and concluded that he couldn’t possibly have been serious. When Jesus said, “Love your Enemies as yourself” the Latins shrugged and grimaced and wrote it off as some kind of first century ironic Woody Allen joke.

Standards

Rav Yeshua, in the Q-Document, said, “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. Be merciful even as your Father is merciful. Don’t judge and you won’t be judged. For the standard you use will be the standard used against you.” Luke 6.

From this statement we can deduce the following:

  • We are ALL children of God and bad stuff happens to everyone. (Ecclesiastes 9:2)
  • God is mercy and does not judge us, we judge ourselves.
  • The action of judging others somehow pulls the trigger on judgement against oneself.

James the Just, the brother of Yeshua, goes further. He says, ‘Let no one, when tempted, say, “I am tempted by God.” For God cannot be tempted by evils, and himself tempts no one. But everyone 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’. Epistle of James.

From this statement we can deduce the following:

  • God is unchangingly good and is not tempted (doesn’t lose his temper) and tempts no one.
  • We are drawn into ‘sin’ by our own desire and are seduced by it.
  • The effect of this intoxication brings about ‘death’.
  • We are deceived by our own desire.

Star Wars

To understand the profundity of this view we have to understand Kabbalah and to do that we will have study a different Luke. Luke SkywalkerTo understand Kabbalah we must look to Luke Skywalker and Star Wars.

Luke Skywalker in the films became a master of the ‘Force’ (sort of! Pretty rubbish really!)

As an engineer who specialises in Electromagnetics and Ultrasonics, I can attest that the world you experience is an illusion created by your senses. You perceive the world as solid because of electromagnetic force. The Rope Hypothesis explains how every atom in the universe is linked to every other atom by means of an electromagnetic rope. One of the reasons that the Star Wars films have been so popular is that we all instinctively know that the idea of ‘The Force’ is kind of true! We really are all connected and, at some deep level, we feel it.

 

The Rock

To prove my point, let’s look at another popular movie but to be honest you could choose almost any film that has been produced over the last thirty years. Take the 2015 blockbuster ‘San Andreas’, Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) plays Raymond Gaines, a man of action destroyed by the death of his youngest daughter. The ‘arc of the film’ sees Ray as a lonely man, at the beginning of the film, watching the disintegration of his family. The adventures of the day lead him and his family to find the strength and wisdom to get past his self-obsession, which has pushed his wife into the arms of another man. By focusing on his loved ones instead of himself he finds redemption. We all instinctively know that this is true! This is real! This is how it works!

“But Antonio! How can we ‘all’ possibly, instinctively, feel the same thing?”

Wild Justice

The scientists, Marc Bekoff and Jessica Pierce in their 2009 best seller, ‘Wild Justice: the Moral Lives of Animals’ Wild Justicegave us a summary of scientific understanding of animal behaviour. Contrary to the opinion of the famous French philosopher and father of modern thought, Rene Descartes, animals are not just automatic machines without souls or thought. It turns out that animals have an inbuilt morality and sense of empathy that often makes them act in a way that is directly contrary to their evolutionary advantage. Namely, when put in a cage with a button to obtain food most animals would rather starve than push the button and make a friend suffer.

It seems as though all living things have an in-built Burnt In Operating System (BIOS) and instinctively deep down know what is a ‘sin’. Perhaps we are like any work of art and share the essence of our designer?

So if we understand that we are all connected by an electromagnetic force and thoughts are just electricity and if we all have a built in understanding of ‘sin’ then we can begin to understand what the historical Jesus and his brother James were saying and why.

Zen Koans

As a people, we tend to look for entire books that explain for us subjects that are as complicated as the idea of ‘sin’. Unfortunately, Jesus and the Nazarenes didn’t teach like that. They taught in Zen Koans. They used short sentences that shocked people into seeing beyond the limitations of the mundane mind.

“If you have ears to hear, you may hear!”

The secrets of the Nazarenes and of Kabbalah can be summed up in a few words but it takes a lifetime to understand them. The Jewish Torah uses six nouns and three verbs to describe sin. Using some of these words perhaps we can now see that Mrs Bakewell was indeed right about anorexia.

When a young person becomes so obsessed with themselves (Raah) that they become anorexic, they have become intoxicated with the idea of self (Shagah). They are causing damage to themselves and their family (Chaah) and they have done something that is ‘morally’ wrong (Rasha) by throwing away their young life. They have (Like Raymond Gaines) put themselves before God and their family (Pasha). Eventually they will become twisted and stricken (Avon). It is important to note that none of these words can really be translated as the word ‘sin’ (as the Christians understand it) and by using that word we fail to understand the profundity of the Nazarene explanation and we will ultimately fail in taking the medicine of their timeless and profoundly Jewish prescription.

Quantum Mechanics For Your Soul: How to Repair Yourself and Save the World at the Same Time

Amazon: https://cutt.ly/fcFKMqJ

Quantum Mechanics For Your Soul

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

Amazon: https://cutt.ly/LcpHqkl

The True Sayings of Jesus