The Moses Scroll

The Evolution of the Bible

The earliest copy of the book of Deverim (Deuteronomy) is evidence of the evolution of the Bible. Why is that important?

For anyone who has not already watched our DocuVlog review of Professor Ross K. Nichols’ new book “The Moses Scroll”, go to our YouTube Channel and watch that HERE.

This short blog is designed to address the obvious question, “Why should we care?”

All three Abrahamic faiths, Christianity, Judaism and Islam, are based on a literal interpretation of the Bible – the belief that the Bible contains – word for word – the words of God.

Over the last two hundred years, many of the people in Western countries have become atheists in reaction against this religious literalism.

Unfortunately, the loss of God has proved a disaster for Western civilisation.


The Good News:

The existence of the Moses Scroll demonstrates that, in reality, the books of the Bible evolved with the Hebrew people. Those texts directly reflect the changing socio-political interests of powerful groups within the Judean elite and their need to control the Hebrew people through a manipulation of their beliefs.

In the text of Shapira’s scroll, we see a text largely without reference to the Judean God Yahweh from the Negev desert. He is only mentioned by the editor at the beginning and the end of the Book. This demonstrates the evolution of Elohist theology into the Yahwist and confirms the position that the Jesus of History took against Judean literalism. We know from Epiphanius of Salamis that the religious school to which the Jesus of History belonged (Nazareans) believed (as did the Essenes and the Samaritans) that the Judeans had forged the Bible.

Interestingly, the text does not contain the openly xenophobic tone of the later versions.

Like the teachings of the Jesus of History, the text is almost entirely concerned with our inner relationship with our selves and God.

In light of the Moses Scroll, we can say that the Hebrew Bible is a record of a people’s struggle to find God and themselves within a changing and challenging world. We must test our weight on each line, as a climber tests a handhold because each line may contain a profound spiritual insight or it might be the evidence of an ancient evil. Reading the Bible without first engaging our commonsense has and will lead to madness.

That being said, the Moses Scroll suggests that maybe the God that atheists don’t believe in never really existed.

If you enjoyed this blog you might like to read “Two Gods, Two Countries”


Two Gods and Two Countries

The religiously motivated massacre in Orlando, Florida, is a sad reminder of the dangers of trying to find absolute truth in the written word. All books, without exception, are only shadows of the minds of the people who write them. Holy BooksWhatever motivations or inspiration a person may or may not have had at the time of writing are only faintly echoed within the text itself. It is important that we use our common sense when we read any written text except when it comes to reading a religious work it becomes a matter of life and death, as we see today on a regular basis.

Mean no Harm?

We know from contemporary evidence that prior to the middle of the first millennium a large proportion of Israelis believed that the Judeans had forged the books of Moses (Ref 1). The Old Testament paints a picture of a single united Jewish people. The overall narrative is that Abraham, Moses and then the Prophets advocated the God Yahweh and his cult of animal sacrifice. The Judean Priestly Theocracy insisted that all national calamities were due to some ‘failing’ in the Jewish people or due to their general lack of enthusiasm for the Judean blood cult. Jerusalem was the Davidic Capital and centre of the world. To be fair, sometimes a lie is told for the best of reasons and it is possible that this lie was told to protect the people, to unite them in the face of Babylonian invasion and exile.

Two Countries?

Israel and JudahUnfortunately, after a hundred years of archaeology we can now see that this Judean narrative is not supported by physical reality. Galilee and the north of the country were always the most prosperous and densely populated areas (Ref 2). Shechem and Megiddo were the major cities and it was in Shechem that Davidic Kings were crowned (Ref 3). It was the Northern God ‘El’ that gave Israel its name (Ref 4) and unlike Yahweh He was viewed as discarnate and eternal rather than anthropomorphically. Worship of El involved His feminine aspect Asherah and gifts of olive oil and incense were offered on the mountaintops and wild groves (Ref 5). Until the Assyrian invasion destroyed Israel, Jerusalem was only a small village in the godforsaken barren hills of Judea (Ref 6). The Judean nationalistic fantasy, post Babylonian return, fundamentally changed the nature of God to follow the Babylonian model of Marduk (Ref 7).

Two Gods?

This false narrative has ensured that the actual sayings of Jesus became almost impossible to understand and this confusion between El and Yahweh, between Judean and Israeli religious understanding has led to some of the worst atrocities the world has ever known (Ref 8). The Galilean movements, which included the Essenes and Nazarenes rejected animal sacrifice, avoided eating meat, practiced ritual purity and believed that prayer was a personal and solitary affair were in opposition to the Judean Theocracy (Ref 9). The fact that the Gospels do not understand this dichotomy but follow the false narrative of Rabbinical Judaism certainly attests to their creation by Romans and Greeks much later than previously thought.

Become Clear!

The power of the priests was weakened when first the Greeks and then the Romans invaded. By the time of Jesus a Jewish Palestinian religious reformation was finally possible (Ref 10). In this context of religious fundamentalism and political nationalism, many of the sayings of Jesus suddenly make sense. His blockade of the Temple and his execution shortly after becomes a desperate Israeli attempt to stop the horror of animal sacrifice. After the death of Jesus (Maran Yeshua) his brother James became the Rabbi to the Nazarene Yeshiva (Ref 11). After the Bar Kokhba Revolt, the Judean Pharisees evolved into Rabbinical Judaism and Israeli religious belief went underground – eventually to become Lurianic Kabbalah.

One or the Other?

Which vision better reflects the words of Jesus – a vision of God as being everything and a father to all life or a capricious God that will destroy cities on a whim? A God that demands sacrifice or a God that desires love. He cannot possibly be both. The historical Jesus taught an Israeli vision, which was later obscured by a nationalistic Jewish narrative. The situation was made worse by the emergence of a pagan cult intoxicated by its own ignorance and made blind by its own arrogance (Ref 12). In the face of such propaganda, it is vital that we read the Bible with the utmost care and use, to the best of our ability, our God-given common sense (Ref 13).


  1. Epiphanius of Salamis in his Panarion
  2. Professor Israel Finkelstein – the Bible Unearthed
  3. Old Testament – 2 Kings
  4. Merneptah Stele and Genesis 32
  5. Genesis 33:20 and Judges 9:46
  6. Professor Israel Finkelstein – the Bible Unearthed
  7. Professor R. Reed Lessing – Yahweh versus Marduk
  8. Blackman, E.C. Marcion and His Influence 2004
  9. Keith Akers – The Lost Religion of Jesus
  10. Professor Israel Finkelstein – the Bible Unearthed
  11. Josephus – Antiquities of the Jews and Acts
  12. Eusebius – Ecclesiastical History
  13. Rav Abraham Kook – The pangs of cleanings

If you enjoyed this Blog, then you might like: Are there two Gods in the Bible? and What is Spirituality and can it be found in a book?

Research Paper: The Jesus of History Versus Judean Supremacism

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 True Sayings of JesusThe Last Letters of Jesus

US and UK Flags

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).


  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

Del Boy

What did Jesus say and what did he actually mean?

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

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

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

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

King James Bible

King James Bible

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

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

Gospel of Mark

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

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

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

More Errors in the Gospel of Mark

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

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

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

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

The Other Gospel Writers

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

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


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

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

God does not judge us; we judge ourselves.

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

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

Books of Moses

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

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

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

Not really a Bargain

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

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

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

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

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

The True Sayings of Jesus