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The Origins of Christianity and
the Quest for the Historical Jesus Christ

Part 2

by Acharya S

Jesus Christ the King Sun

Page 2 of 6    <<Previous |  1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | Next: The Characters >>

Biblical Sources

It is very telling that the earliest Christian documents, the Epistles attributed to "Paul," never discuss a historical background of Jesus but deal exclusively with a spiritual being who was known to all gnostic sects for hundreds to thousands of years. The few "historical" references to an actual life of Jesus cited in the Epistles are demonstrably interpolations and forgeries, as are, according to Wheless, the Epistles themselves, as they were not written by "Paul."17 Aside from the brief reference to Pontius Pilate at 1 Timothy 6:13, an epistle dated ben Yehoshua to 144 CE and thus not written by Paul, the Pauline literature (as pointed out by Edouard Dujardin) "does not refer to Pilate18, or the Romans, or Caiaphas, or the Sanhedrin, or Herod19, or Judas, or the holy women, or any person in the gospel account of the Passion, and that it also never makes any allusion to them; lastly, that it mentions absolutely none of the events of the Passion, either directly or by way of allusion."20 Dujardin additionally relates that other early "Christian" writings such as Revelation do not mention any historical details or drama.21 Mangasarian notes that Paul also never quotes from Jesus's purported sermons and speeches, parables and prayers, nor does he mention Jesus's supernatural birth or any of his alleged wonders and miracles, all which one would presume would be very important to his followers, had such exploits and sayings been known prior to "Paul."22

Turning to the gospels themselves, which were composed between 170-180 C.E.22a, their pretended authors, the apostles, give sparse histories and genealogies of Jesus that contradict each other and themselves in numerous places. The birthdate of Jesus is depicted as having taken place at different times. His birth and childhood are not mentioned in "Mark," and although he is claimed in "Matthew" and "Luke" to have been "born of a virgin," his lineage is traced to the House of David through Joseph, such that he may "fulfill prophecy."23 He is said in the first three (Synoptic) gospels to have taught for one year before he died, while in "John" the number is three years. "Matthew" relates that Jesus delivered "The Sermon on the Mount"24 before "the multitudes," while "Luke" says it was a private talk given only to the disciples. The accounts of his Passion and Resurrection differ utterly from each other, and no one states how old he was when he died.25 Wheless says, "The so-called 'canonical' books of the New Testament, as of the Old, are a mess of contradictions and confusions of text, to the present estimate of 150,000 and more 'variant readings,' as is well known and admitted."26 In addition, of the dozens of gospels, ones that were once considered canonical or genuine were later rejected as "apocryphal" or spurious, and vice versa. So much for the "infallible Word of God" and "infallible" Church! The confusion exists because the Christian plagiarists over the centuries were attempting to amalgamate and fuse practically every myth, fairytale, legend, doctrine or bit of wisdom they could pilfer from the innumerable different mystery religions and philosophies that existed at the time. In doing so, they forged, interpolated, mutilated, changed, and rewrote these texts for centuries.27

Non-Biblical Sources

Basically, there are no non-biblical references to a historical Jesus by any known historian of the time during and after Jesus's purported advent. Walker says, "No literate person of his own time mentioned him in any known writing." Eminent Hellenistic Jewish historian and philosopher Philo (20 B.C.E.-50 C.E.), alive at the purported time of Jesus, makes no mention of him. Nor do any of the some 40 other historians who wrote during the first one to two centuries of the Common Era. "Enough of the writings of [these] authors...remain to form a library. Yet in this mass of Jewish and Pagan literature, aside from two forged passages in the works of a Jewish author, and two disputed passages in the works of Roman writers, there is to be found no mention of Jesus Christ."28 Their silence is deafening testimony against the historicizers.

In the entire works of the Jewish historian Josephus, which constitute many volumes, there are only two paragraphs that purport to refer to Jesus. Although much has been made of these "references," they have been dismissed by many scholars and even by Christian apologists as forgeries, as have been those referring to John the Baptist and James, "brother" of Jesus. Bishop Warburton labeled the Josephus interpolation regarding Jesus as "a rank forgery, and a very stupid one, too."29 Wheless notes that, "The first mention ever made of this passage, and its text, are in the Church History of that 'very dishonest writer,' Bishop Eusebius, in the fourth century...CE [Catholic Encyclopedia] admits... the above cited passage was not known to Origen and the earlier patristic writers." Wheless, a lawyer, and Taylor, a minister, agree that it was Eusebius himself who forged the passage.

Regarding the letter to Trajan supposedly written by Pliny the Younger, which is one of the pitifully few "references" to Jesus or Christianity held up by Christians as evidence of the existence of Jesus, there is but one word that is applicable--"Christian"--and that has been demonstrated to be spurious, as is also suspected of the entire letter. Concerning the passage in the works of the historian Tacitus, who did not live during the purported time of Jesus but was born two decades after his purported death, this is also considered by competent scholars as an interpolation and forgery.30 Christian defenders also like to hold up the passage in Suetonius that refers to someone named "Chrestus" or "Chresto" as reference to their Savior; however, while some have speculated that there was a Roman man of that name at that time, the name "Chrestus" or "Chrestos," meaning "useful," was frequently held by freed slaves. Others opine that this passage is also an interpolation.

As to these references and their constant regurgitation by Christian apologists, Dr. Alvin Boyd Kuhn says:

"The average Christian minister who has not read outside the pale of accredited Church authorities will impart to any parishioner making the inquiry the information that no event in history iis better attested by witness than the occurences in the Gospel narrative of Christ's life. He will go over the usual citation of the historians who mention Jesus and the letters claiming to have been written about him. When the credulous questioner, putting trust in the intelligence and good faith of his pastor, gets this answer, he goes away assured on the point of the veracity of the Gospel story. The pastor does not qualify his data with the information that the practice of forgery, fictionizing and fable was rampant in the early Church. In the simple interest of truth, then, it is important to examine the body of alleged testimony from secular history and see what credibility and authority it possess.

"First, as to the historians whose works record the existence of Jesus, the list comprises but four. They are Pliny, Tacitus, Suetonius and Josephus. There are short paragraphs in the works of each of these, two in Josephus. The total quantity of this material is given by Harry Elmer Barnes in The Twilight of Christianity as some twenty-four lines. It may total a little more, perhaps twice that amount. This meager testimony constitutes the body or mass of the evidence of 'one of the best attested events in history.' Even if it could be accepted as indisputably authentic and reliable, it would be faltering support for an event that has dominated the thought of half the world for eighteen centuries.

"But what is the standing of this witness? Not even Catholic scholars of importance have dissented from a general agreement of academic investigators that these passages, one and all, must by put down as forgeries and interpolations by partisan Christian scribes who wished zealously to array the authority of these historians behind the historicity of the Gospel life of Jesus. A sum total of forty or fifty lines from secular history supporting the existence of Jesus of Nazareth, and they completely discredited!"30a

Of these "references," Dujardin says, "But even if they are authentic, and were derived from earlier sources, they would not carry us back earlier than the period in which the gospel legend took form, and so could attest only the legend of Jesus, and not his historicity." In any case, these scarce and brief "references" to a man who supposedly shook up the world can hardly be held up as proof of his existence, and it is absurd that the purported historicity of the entire Christian religion is founded upon them.31 As it is said, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof"; yet, no proof of any kind for the historicity of Jesus has ever existed or is forthcoming.

Page 2 of 6    <<Previous |  1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | Next: The Characters >>



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