Ballet Shoes

What is Evil?

For those people who are blind to the colour red, for them it just doesn’t exist. Such people live in a ‘redless’ world! The colour redIt is almost impossible to explain to such people what the colour ‘red’ means to the rest of us. Discussions about ‘Good and Evil’ can sometimes feel a little like that. The Church confidently states that ‘sin is a state, not an action’. They have inherited several words for ‘sin‘, in Greek and Latin, but are not really sure what to do with them. In fact, for most religions, ‘sin‘ is an abstract idea used to beat the gullible into obedience.

Do we Suffer because we Sin?

Despite all this confusion, instinctively, most people suspect that ‘sin‘ has something to do with ‘suffering‘ but nobody is exactly sure how. The problem is that without an understanding of Hebrew language and Jewish culture, ‘Good and Evil’ is a colour most people just can’t see. To be honest, the truth is so profound that even Jewish people often miss the significance of the words. Most people are so busy talking in their heads that they miss the quiet explanation in the heart. To truly learn to hear and trust that voice we are going need to learn something of Jewish mysticism. To understand the teachings of the Jesus of History we are going to have to learn something of Kabbalah.

In fact, the answer is in the beginning. The secret of ‘good and evil’ is clearly explained in the book of Genesis, specifically in the story of Adam and Eve and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

The Jesus of History explained and expanded on that same theme with the doctrines of the ‘Narrow Gate’ or the ‘Two Ways’.

Putting yourself First

Let me explain! Have you ever been in the situation when you had to choose between yourself and someone you love? Maybe you were making some food or some drinks. One for yourself and one for the person you love. You suddenly noticed that the plate, which you intended to give to the person you love, has something on it that you want. For a split second, you felt the urge to swap the plates. If you can learn to be very quiet and very still inside, you will notice that those thoughts begin life as a feeling. That feeling is born within your idea of your ‘self‘ as separate from the world.

Let’s look at another example. I knew a Jewish mother who had grown up in difficult times. She wanted to give her children all of the things that life had denied her. She was determined that her daughter would have the ballet lessons that her parents had not been able to give her when she was growing up.

That, in itself, is not a sin. Unfortunately, her daughter was built like a bricklayer and had all the grace of a pregnant elephant. Making the child go to ballet lessons gave the girl a complex and she ended up with anorexia and killing herself. The problem was that the Jewish mother had loved her daughter as an extension of herself. She had chosen herself over the will of heaven.

Two Natures

The Jesus of History taught that for a man to look at another woman with lust was the same as to commit adultery. We can deduce, therefore, that the direction of our intention causes something to happen in the real world. To understand what we must return to the book of Genesis and a little esoteric mumbo jumbo.

Our physical bodies are born from the ‘stuff’ of this planet but we are animated with a divine life force, which science still can’t explain or replicate. Kabbalah teaches that because of this design we have two natures. On the one hand we have our mortal nature, our ’burnt-in-operating-system’ or BIOS, on the other we have our own divine nature, which is a part of God. In Hebrew we call these two natures the Yetzer Ha’Tov and the Yetzer ha’ra, the good and evil inclinations respectively.

The story of Adam and Eve is an symbolic explanation of how the choice to ‘receive for the self alone’ (BIOS) solidifies our sense of self and from innocence we learn to know shame. It is this solidification of the sense of self that gives rise to the experience of suffering.

Our intention gives rise to actions that have an effect, in the real world, like a wave that ripples through time and space. That sounds even more esoteric so let’s look at what that might mean in real terms!

Was Jeffrey Dahmer Saved?

Jeffrey DahmerLet’s examine an obvious example of evil. The serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, after raping, murdering and eating people as a hobby, converted to Christianity in prison. The Church celebrated and stated that ‘Today, all the angels in Heaven are rejoicing because Jeffrey has come home (to Heaven)’. Because Dahmer decided to believe in the story of Christ Jesus we are told that all his sins are forgiven. If he is ‘forgiven and no longer living under Sin’ (as Saint Paul was fond of saying) how does that even work in the real world? In what way was Dahmer, ‘Dead to Sin’.

He took the lives of seventeen men and boys, does this forgiveness bring them back to life? No, of course not. What of the families of his victims, does his adoption of belief remove their grief or their thirst for revenge? No, of course not. What of the damage to his own mind and soul that his crimes were an expression of, does his decision to believe in the creed heal his soul? No, of course not! Does his decision to believe in the Christ Jesus wash away the hate and moral indignation that society feels for him? No, of course not. In fact, for Dahmer, nothing changed. From our example, we can deduce that our actions cause a wave of effect in the real world, which reverberates through both time and space. ‘Sin’ then is something ‘Real’ like a weight of water pushing us forward and changing the nature of our future. Just as wind is invisible until it is revealed by the leaves and the waves, the effects of our actions are invisible until they are revealed by events in the real world.

Can your Sins be forgiven?

Talking of the real world, the wave of cause and effect, which Dahmer had set in motion, finally returned to redress the balance of the universe. On November 28, 1994, Christopher Scarver beat Jeffrey Dahmer to death. It is self-evident then, that despite the assurances of his Pastor, Dahmer’s ‘Sins’ were still a force that were operating in the real world. Despite being ‘washed in the blood of the lamb’, the effects of his crimes still existed. Dahmer’s choices in life brought him to a prison filled with violent men. His crimes engendered a visceral moral indignation, even among ‘bad’ people, to the point that they were prepared to take up arms against him. Surely then, these are real world proofs that no man can say ‘your sins are forgiven’.

Sense of Self

We all know how easy it is to choose the self over the rest of the world, to choose the best, to push in front, to love only while it serves our sense of self. This path the Jesus of History called the ‘Broad Gate’.

” For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.”

Matthew 7:13

According to the Jesus of History this is how we create ‘sin‘.

The Narrow Gate is to choose to ‘receive in order to benefit the world’ but this demands that we crush the ego. It also means that we learn to watch the gate of our mind’s intention because it is the force of our intention that determines the power of the wave that might beat us to death like Mr Dahmer.

 

If you enjoyed this Blog, then you might like to read: ‘What did Jesus teach about Sin?’ and ‘Evil and How to Avoid it according to the Jesus of History

If you would like to learn more about the Sense of Self, read the Non-Fiction Book ‘Quantum Mechanics For Your Soul

Quantum Mechanics For Your Soul

If you would like to learn more about the Jesus of History, read the 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

Gospel of John

The Gospel of John

Many Biblical Scholars believe that the earliest followers of the Historical Jesus (33-55 CE) had written down a collection of his ‘Sayings’ and used them as the basis of their daily Jewish practice. Apparently, they were not interested in (or knew nothing of) the biography, miracle or narrative stories. It is very likely that it was to this Jewish Logia that Papias of Hierapolis was referring (around 130 CE) when he said that ‘Matthew collected the sayings of Jesus in Hebrew’. The Lost Gospel(Side note: it is unlikely he was referring to the later anonymous Narrative Gospel, which the early church fathers arbitrarily decided to attribute to Matthew as Matthew is a narrative Gospel, in Greek syntax and most likely written much later.) Within the Synoptic Gospels it is obvious that the ‘Sayings’ were copied from a primary external source. The ‘Sayings’ are internally coherent and confirm to Jewish philosophy.

Gospel of Luke

In one of those ‘Sayings’ Luke reports Jesus as saying, ‘Why call me “Master, Master,” and not do as I say? Everyone who hears my words and does them is like a man who built a house on Rock’. As with the rest of the Synoptic Q-Source Sayings, this phrase emphasises that the teaching of the Historical Jesus was based on ‘Doing‘ – on actions we take in daily life. Understanding of the nature of the Kingdom of God comes slowly.

From the brother of the Historical Jesus we have the Epistle of James, ‘But become doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man beholding his natural face in a mirror; he beholds himself and goes away and immediately forgets what kind of a man he was.’

Gospel of John

The Gospel of John, on the other hand, marks the point when the Roman Church finally severed any ties with the Historical Jesus or the Jewish movement of which he was a part. It is thought that the Gospel of John has undergone several editions and was composed from at least two sources. It is possible that John was composed from a ‘Signs’ source and the Torah; interestingly, ‘John’s’ Gospel makes no reference to any of the ‘Sayings’ or parables. Written by several writers over several editions in beautiful Greek, it is the work of literary genius but as it attributes the author as ‘The disciple whom Jesus loved’ it makes no serious claim to be anything other than a work of fiction. It is unfortunate that most of the world’s anti-Semitism can be attributed to a literal reading of this work.

The Gospel of John contradicts the Synoptic Gospels on most points that count; the birth of Jesus, his life, his arrest, his death. The dialogue attributed to Jesus is entirely in the voice of the narrator; he makes no attempt to even pretend that he is actually quoting a living man. For example, let’s look at the first chapter of the Gospel attributed to John.

‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God’.

Soul of the World

The doctrine of the ‘Logos’ is entirely a pagan Greek concept popularised in the Roman world by Heraclitus (6 BCE). The Stoics used this term to refer to the ‘Soul of the World’. Marcus Aurelius used it for the general principal of nature = reason.

To be fair, Philo of Alexandria (25 BCE to 50 CE – a Hellenised Jew) tried to build a bridge between the Sepher Yetzirah and Greek philosophy by spinning a Kabbalistic concept into a Greek demigod. When John uses this term to open his book he is obviously addressing Greeks and Romans who are familiar with this term. He certainly was not talking to Jews as they would have dismissed the idea of a demigod out of hand.

In John 1:7 ‘The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the light that all through him might believe’. This statement posits two ideas:

  1. That belief can be based on someone else’s word or example.
  2. Belief is the goal of spirituality.

Blind Belief

Referring this statement back to the ‘Sayings’ of the Historical Jesus, we can see that this pagan idea of pistis (blind belief) directly contradicts his teachings on ‘knowledge being revealed’. It is at this point that the voice of the Historical Jesus is finally lost and Christianity adopts the Greek mystery religion’s emphasis on power being transferred through ritual and secret knowledge and belief, rather than self transformation and wisdom gained through experience.

This idea is further emphasised in 1:11 ‘He came into his own, and his own (Jews) received him not. But as many received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God even to them that believe on his name’.

For the writers of this Gospel, ‘power’ is given in return for belief. The Hebrew term for ‘Children of God’ (לדים של אלוהים ) is misunderstood to imply a mystical power rather than a relationship.

John the Baptist

Working our way to 1:23 – the Johannine Evangelists are doing everything they can to discredit John the Baptist, to the point where they have the Pharisees ask him, ‘Why then do you baptise if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor a prophet’? Just putting aside for the moment that, at this point in the story, this speech would make no sense as nobody knew what a ‘Christ’ was until much later. It totally misunderstands the Jewish concept of Mikvah and ritual purity and transforms baptism from a Jewish Mitzvah into an initiation into a Greek Mystery Cult.

Baptism for John and Jesus, as we know from Epiphanius of Salamis, was a daily ongoing practice not a Greek one-off ritual of entrance and acceptance. By the time we get to 1:29 ‘The lamb of God which taketh away all sin‘ we can comfortably conclude that the writers of this Gospel had never even met a Jew and were not talking to Jews.

The Passover Lamb is killed as an act of faith and was never a sacrifice to take away sin. Forget the fact that everything the Historical Jesus said and did was in opposition to the Judean cult of animal sacrifice, we can see by this point that the Gospel of John is nothing but a Greek fantasy loosely based on the life of a Jewish mystic.

Blasphemy

It seems sad to me that so many people have been so eager to put their own words into the mouth of Jesus. It seems unforgivably rude and big headed, if not downright blasphemous.

Having said all that, I don’t see any problem with ‘inspired’ writings. I just wish people would stop trying to put words into the mouth of Jesus.

The Gospel of the Holy Twelve

Rev GJ OuseleyFrom this analysis of the first chapter of the Gospel of John, we can see that there is really not much difference between this fictitious Gospel attributed to ‘John’ and Reverend Gideon Jasper Richard Ouseley’s admittedly fictitious Gospel, ‘The Gospel of the Holy Twelve’.

Rev Ouseley stated, without blinking, that his Gospel was ‘translated from an ancient Aramaic text, which had been deposited in a Buddhist monastery in Tibet by an Essene priest’. The fact that any Essene priest would have missed the Buddhists by five hundred years did not seem to bother anyone. When he was finally challenged on this silly claim, after the Gospel’s initial publication in 1904, he cheerfully admitted he had ‘received the text in a dream’. The reason I mention the Reverend Ouseley is because he, like many people today, seem to believe that having secret knowledge or belief will, of itself, bring them what they seek and obviously have no qualms in using Jesus to champion their personal beliefs; searching, as they do, for vindication through the approbation of others.

Narrow Gate

I wonder if we will ever get to the point where just the words of the Historical Jesus will be enough for us, as they were for the original followers of the Rabbi?

Surely, any belief we choose to adopt can only ever be an extension of our own self. Our beliefs, particularly the ones we get angry about, are only the idols we have made for ourselves.

The words of the Historical Jesus demand a daily battle with ourselves and he invites us, no challenges us, to enter by the narrow gate. Surely that should be enough for anyone?

 

If you enjoyed this Blog, then you might like: The Great Hebrew Matthew Deception

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

Watch: The Great Hebrew Matthew Deception

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

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

 

Steven Anderson

Why are Christians so Nasty?

Christians constantly tell us that they are ‘saved’. They tell us that Yoga is demonic and music is ‘of the devil’. They want to kill gays. They use verses they don’t understand like weapons. They seem to have their own language, which marks them out to each other. Yoga is demonic

“I’m washed in the blood of Jesus!”

“If you donate five dollars you’ll have a harvest.”

Only Christians are Saved!

They have convinced themselves that belief alone will guarantee them salvation. Assuming that they are ‘saved’, why are Christians so nasty?

Apart for some notable exceptions, Christians are as messed up as everyone else? There’s obviously a disconnect between what Christians tell themselves and what is actually happening in their lives. Why is that? Is God ignoring them or are they just kidding themselves?

Saint Paul the creator of Christianity

This argument has been going on since Saint Paul invented Christianity. I discuss this in my book – The True Sayings of Jesus: The Jesus of History Vs. The Christ Myth and in my YouTube channel (The Jesus of History) where I detail some of the arguments:

So the question is: ‘Can belief alone bring spiritual change or is life a bit more complicated than that’?

Christian RallyBelieve everything the Church says and you’ll get into heaven. On Judgement day you’ll be able to laugh at all the sinners burning in hell. The Church has been selling exactly that ticket for two thousand years.

In the middle of the first century Paul started teaching in the name of Jesus. He began teaching Greeks and Romans in southern Turkey that he could give them the spirit of God in exchange for their belief in his new Gospel. The family of the Jewish teacher whose name he had stolen were not happy with his plagiarism and several showdowns ensured. (Acts and Romans)

Paul’s letters are a wall of words that say very little. He misquoted and lied but that didn’t stop him creating a religion that changed the world.

Which Gospel came first?

A hundred years ago the scholars started to try to work out which of the Synoptic Gospels was written first, when they put the Gospels side by side.

They found that it was only the sayings of the Jesus of History that lined up – the narrative and miracle accounts were obviously fictitious and could be dismissed from serious debate.

The writers of Matthew, Mark and Luke obviously had a book of the ‘sayings’ of Jesus from which they quoted. The younger brother of Jesus, James the Just, in his Epistle taught the same message.

Luke 17:21 reported Jesus as saying, “The Kingdom of God will not come by observation. It is not here or there, for the Kingdom of God is within you.”

Just like the Q source, the Gospel of Thomas is also a ‘sayings’ document and it expands on the same theme. The Kingdom of God is within you.

Where is God?

God for Paul was out there but God for the Nazarenes is everywhere.

Some of the echoes of the historical Jewish teacher still can be found in the Gospels. They suggest that Jesus went into the quiet places to pray. (Luke 5:16 – Matthew 6:6 – Mark 1:35)

From the Zen like nature of his sayings it is obvious that Jesus practiced the deep meditation techniques so popular within Jewish Kabbalah at that time. (Sepha Yetzirah)

The mind is just like a child, without discipline it is a misery to itself and to everyone else.

The Jewish tradition has a long history of meditation that existed before the Jesus of History and exists to this day. In the Gospel of Thomas, the Jesus of History teaches us that we must “Recognise what is before your face and that which is hidden will be revealed.”

This is a reference to the clear lake of conscious, which exist beneath the surface of the conscious thought patterns.

Who will save the Christians?

Christians are blind to their own evil and cruelty because they are too busy looking up for someone else to save them. If they could learn to stop talking in their heads they would hear God’s voice within and see his hand in everything. Just as the Jesus of History said, “the Kingdom of God is like a forgotten seed or yeast in bread, it comes slowly and in unexpected ways.”

Jesus taught that anger was the same as murder and lust the same as rape. Hate must be turned into love. How do you think you could do that without learning to watch the gate of your soul?

“When you pray, go into your inner storeroom and lock the door and pray to your father in secret.” Gospel of Matthew 6:6

“The lamp of the body is in the eye. When you make the eye single your body shall be full of light.” Gospel of Matthew 6:22

“When you know yourself, you will be known and you will understand that you are children of the living father.”  Gospel of Thomas 3

“Know what is in front of your face and what is hidden from you will be revealed.” Gospel of Thomas 5

“The Kingdom of God is within you.” Gospel of Luke 17

If you enjoyed this Blog, then you might like – Why does everyone hate the Jesus of History

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

The True Sayings of Jesus

Turkey Dinner

My God is better than Yours!

Can you explain why you believe the things you do? Many of our beliefs come with our culture or our age group as a job lot. It takes a lot of courage to analyse your own beliefs. It can be frightening. It is much easier to buy our beliefs off the shelf.

Ready Meals and Religion

Here in the mountains of Spain, the Spanish women shop every day. They buy fresh produce and cook traditional meals. Roast Turkey DinnerOn the coast there are supermarkets that cater for the holidaymakers. They sell bright expensive packets that contain entire meals. It doesn’t take much effort to prepare these packets. You put them in the microwave and in minutes you have a whole dinner for one.

I’ve noticed that people like to shop for their beliefs in the same way. “Last week I was a Christian but this week I’m a Jew.” “Last week I was a Buddhist and now I’m a Muslim.” They have to cook the whole packet and even eat the meat, even though they are not sure what the hell it is. There is no room for self-expression, only consumption. This religion is for ME! I am right and everyone else is wrong!

We are limited by the nature of our being. We live in boxes made of flesh and look out at the world through five small windows. We filter the world through the prism of our past, so our understanding will always be subjective and limited until we die. Surely, we can see that what we understood before is not what we understand today; therefore, it is fair to suppose that, the way we think tomorrow will not be the same as the way we do now.

How dare you!

According to a Gallup poll in 2015 the world population is now primarily atheist. When Stephen Fry, the famous actor and author, was asked what, as an atheist, he would say to God, he said, “How dare you? How dare you create a world in which there is such misery that is not our fault. It’s not right, it’s utterly, utterly evil. Why should I respect a capricious, mean-minded, stupid God who creates a world that is so full of injustice and pain. That’s what I would say to God.

Why would such an educated and kind man as Stephen Fry want to be so rude to God? To be fair to Mr Fry, if anyone of an average intelligence reads the books of Moses he could reasonably conclude that either God is a paranoid schizophrenic or there is more than one vision of God described in these documents.

Moses

The Torah (Old Testament) is either the word of God directly dictated to Moses or a collection of different stories, which were written by different people at different times for vastly different reasons. How you see these stories will depend on which packet you’ve bought off the shelf.

In the ‘Yahwist’ sources, God is described anthropomorphically (as a man). For example, physically walking in the Garden of Eden looking for Adam and Eve or, as we will see, having small boy’s foreskins thrown at his feet.

Whereas, the Elohist sources describe God as inanimate and beyond the comprehension of man. Whilst we live, he cannot be seen. Angels are often used as intermediaries between us and God. The Elohist story of Jacob’s Ladder in which a ladder begins in the clouds and has angels climbing first up and then down is a classic example of an Israeli Elohist vision of God.

Exodus chapter 3 describes a conversation between Moses and God. In Hebrew, God is described as Elohim and is experienced on a mountain within fire but is not directly seen. Later in chapter 4, God indirectly gives Moses the serpent staff that will help him defeat the Pharaoh. Moses is then ordered to go back to Egypt.

Missed Medication

MedicationHowever, on the way to Egypt, God has obviously forgotten to take his meds and, for no explicable reason, decides to kill Moses before he even gets to Egypt to do what God had just asked Moses to do. Faced with an angry homicidal God outside of an inn, Zipporah, the wife of Moses, takes a stone and cuts off her sons foreskin and throws it at the ‘feet of God’. (Which is obviously what anyone would have done in such a situation.)

The German Orientalist, Walter Beltz, suggested that the original myth behind this story was about the right of Yahweh (as an ancient fertility God) to receive the sacrifice of the first born son. It is important to note that in the Torah, ‘uncovering the feet’ is an euphemism for ‘uncovering the penis’. When Zipporah lays her sons foreskin on the penis of God and says “Surely a bridegroom of blood art thou to me,” what would otherwise not make any sense and is now easy to see as a Yahwist story inserted into the text. Thus we can surmise where the Hebrew custom of genital mutilation of all male children came from. It is a way to placate the Fertility God’s hunger for blood and avoid the death of the child.

A Sorcerer named Balaam

Balaam is another good example of an enlightening Elohist story with a Yahwist tale shoehorned into the middle, which inevitably makes a nonsense of the story. In the book of Numbers 22, the Hebrews have just wiped the Amorites off the face of the earth on the instructions of God (Yahweh seems to like racial genocide). The victorious Hebrews are now camped on the plains of Moab and Balak, the King of Moab, is getting understandably nervous. He goes to the neighbouring Kingdom of Midian and asks for a defensive alliance. The elders hit on the idea of hiring a famous sorcerer to curse the Jews and ensure their defeat in battle.

They offer the Midianite sorcerer named Balaam gold and power to curse the Jews. Balaam says that he will have to ask God. God says “No!” so Balaam tells them “Sorry but you’re going to have to leave – the boss says no.”

After much toing and froing, eventually Balaam says that the Jews are great and he can’t curse them because they are blessed by God. The Elohist story tells us that God is available to all and the righteousness of God will protect us (non-nationalistic).

The talking donkey

The palsied hand of a spittle flecked Judean scribe inserted a Yahwist addendum into the middle of this uplifting Elohist story. The talking donkeyGod wakes Balaam up in the night and tells him to go, in the morning, with the emissaries of Midian. Dutifully, Balaam gets up to go with them as ordered. He mounts his trusty Ass (why does everyone ride ASSES? There were horses all over Palestine! Have you ever ridden an Ass? It’s embarrassing!) Yahweh has obviously missed his meds again and decides to have some fun with Balaam. He sends an angel to sod Balaam around for an hour until, in total frustration and embarrassment; the poor man starts beating up his Ass. Obviously weak from laughter, the angel usefully gives the Ass the power to talk, as he hasn’t the breath to explain what is going on. (Numbers 22:30)

Ever open to reason, Balaam sees what he has done to his trusty talking Ass and feels dreadful. The result of all this arsing around is exactly the square root of nothing. They continue on their way and Balaam is now allowed to finish the Elohist story. He says (from the Hebrew) that “EL is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent; when He hath said, will He not do it? Or, when He hath spoken, will He not make it good?” Balaam won’t curse the Jews – THE END. The Yahwist source addendum obviously has a nationalistic agenda and is derogatory to a Midianite. It is extremely unlikely that this is an original part of the story as the wife of Moses was herself a Midianite. (Exodus 2:21.)

Later the Jews are ordered to kill the midianites including all the children. The little virgin girls are kept as slaves. Balaam is used as a scapegoat for all of the failings of the Jewish people. This is a fiercely nationalistic story and most scholars agree that this was added after the Babylonian Exile.

The fall of the Second Temple

In the first century, this dichotomy between the southern Yahwist nationalistic cult of animal sacrifice and the northern Elohist, non-nationalistic vision of peace came to a head. Josephus records that it was the death of the brother of Jesus, James the Just (Ya’akob), that may have triggered the uprising against the Roman appointed cabal of priests that controlled the Temple. This revolution caused the expulsion of the Romans from Judah and inevitably the fall of the Second Temple.

In my opinion, the Nazarene movement, John the Baptist, Jesus and then James represented the philosophy we now call Kabbalah, which inculcates a purely Elohist vision of God. The death of James the Just prevented, in my opinion, the reformation of the Jewish vision of God and the resolution of this Israeli/Judean debate.

Texts

Due to the exile of the Jewish people from their homeland, the Pharisees had no choice but to create a philosophy that would unite the people and prevent the dissolution of the nation. What else could they do? The Jewish people, ever resourceful, managed to deal with the paradox of their own texts by the simple expedient of saying, “The texts don’t mean what they say they mean! They mean what we say they mean.”

The problem with this approach is that the Christians, when they stole their religion from the Jews, totally misunderstood their teachings. When the Prophet Muhammad read the Torah, he must have thought all his Christmases had come at once! The Torah clearly justifies a blood soaked theocracy and lends unlimited power to the priests.

Is it not ironic that the forging of the books of Moses has justified such suffering and twisted thinking in the world and indeed eventually the holocaust itself. It’s almost like the universe seeks balance?

Off-the-shelf

From Richard Dawkins and his cult of Evolution, Climate Change and Black Lives Matter, Calvin and Salvation, we all try to express our internal reality and try to find vindication by ridiculing others or forcing them to agree with us.

As nice as microwave dinners look on the packet, they never taste like we hope they will. We may choose our religion off-the-shelf but they are always someone else’s vision, someone else took the photo of someone else’s dinner – not yours!

To be honest, I suspect that you are better off cooking for yourself. It’s much more fun sharing food with friends and family and at least you know what you are eating!

If you enjoyed this Blog, then you might like to read – Islam and the Jesus of History, Five Similarities

Watch the Video – What the Jews for Jesus won’t tell you

Watch the Video – Biblical Corruption and Judean Supremacy (Balaam and the talking donkey)

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

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

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

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

Road Map

Map or Instruction Manual

Both the advocates for religion, people like the late Ravi Zacharias, and those against it, people like Richard Dawkins, tend to focus exclusively on the scriptures. This has always struck me as somewhat strange, as though the written words themselves actually prove anything. I’ve always wondered what people are expecting to find in the written word? Just saying ‘it is written’ is meaningless. Ancient graffiti is ample evidence that for the last three thousand years most people have had access to literacy.

What are you looking For?

TomTom

So this begs the question, ‘what are you hoping to find in scriptures? Are you looking for a map or an instruction manual?’

What do I mean by that?

Whose Journey?

Recently, I’ve noticed that long car journeys are a little like life. There are two kinds of drivers, some love the freedom and love to explore. They will take the time to look around and will be able to tell you about the journey and the things they have seen. They take a map but only use it to inform their own journey – it is their own journey that they are interested in.

GPSThe other kind of driver just wants to be told what to do; they listen to their GPS navigation system and when it says turn right, by crikey they are going to turn right – sometimes with disastrous results.

Living life from an instruction manual often means that, by the time you arrive at your destination, you have learnt very little from your journey. For this kind of traveller, only the destination is important.

For example, when I was a boy driving in cities terrified me. Finding my way and trying to make sense of a map was hard but over the years I got to know the city very well. A few years go I abdicated responsibility and started to use the GPS navigation system. Now I have no fear. I have driven through the heart of Barcelona for years. The price of this confidence and absence of fear is ignorance. If you asked me how to get to the Rambla, I would not be able to tell you. This observation has to beg the question, which is more important, the journey or the destination?

It is evident that many religious people look to their scriptures to be somewhat like a GPS system – they want to be told what to do. They want to be in the right lane, they want to be saved. If you asked them why they felt justified to kill or sacrifice an animal they just look at you blankly and quote a passage of scripture. They mistake the map for the terrain; they look to abdicate spiritual responsibility for their own life to the words of a book.

Throw Away The Bible?

Modern archaeology has proven that Jewish history is so much more complicated and beautiful than the Bible would suggest (Finkelstein). The Jesus family tomb would seem to cast doubt on the whole resurrection idea (Talpiot). Why shouldn’t we just throw the Bible away? I would posit that it depends on whether you are looking for a map or an instruction manual. If the Torah and the Tanakh are maps and clues from our past, as most Jews believe, then we are not looking for them to be a substitute for our own journey. We do not, as Dale Allen Hoffman so eloquently said, ‘mistake the map for the actual terrain’.

So what is more important to you, the journey or the destination? Judaism believes the journey is the most important thing, as did the historical Jesus (Burton Mack: Q-Source). Buddhism is thinking two destinations ahead and desperately trying to escape this world and Christianity is busy selling tickets to the tunnel. So which is the right way for you? I guess it depends on whether you are looking for a Map or an Instruction Manual. Come to that, can you tell the difference between the map and the terrain?

My God is better!

Some people follow a religion all their lives, or one after another, and tell themselves and everyone else who will listen that they are ‘saved’. Often the people who know them best will tell you that they have not grown spiritually or emotionally one millimetre in their entire lifetime. People insist that ‘their God is better than yours’ – they are convinced that they are in the right lane because their sacred text, or more accurately, their interpretation of it, tells them so. They use this certainty of their destination as an excuse to pay absolutely no attention to how they live their lives.

Oh! By the way, if it’s of any use to you, a rule of thumb that I’ve learnt to apply to any scripture is simply this; do these texts increase the division between me and the world or is it the opposite? My own feeling is that if God is the life and animator of all things then if I am going in the right direction the divisions between (me) and (other) should be dissolving. If on the other hand my sense of self is hardening, I know that I’m going in the wrong direction.

A litmus test you can have fun with is a simple question that is common to most religions. Ask yourself, ‘is it now and has it ever been spiritually legitimate to sacrifice an innocent living being’? If you have to refer to the instruction manual to answer that question then you may be more lost than you think – turn off the GPS and look where you’re bloody going!

Read the Research Paper – The Jesus of History: Did He Really Exist – The Jesus Family Tomb

Read the Book – The True Sayings of Jesus: The Jesus of History Vs. The Christ Myth Paperback

The True Sayings of Jesus