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Monday, November 12, 2012

The Bible and the 'Historical Jesus.'

To start off (and most likely piss off) a great many, let me say that I do not believe that the Bible is the 'inerrant Word of God.' The Bible to me (even the Title, 'The Book' means it was the only 'book' that many were allowed to read [if they could read at all] for almost the last two thousand years) is a 'religious' document. Religion being the parsing of 'That Which Is' (to those who believe that the "Judeo-Christian" 'religion' is -- pardon the pun -- 'fundamentally' the same thing on both sides [Judeo and "Christian"], the answer is a fundamental No), to conform to the Temporal Concerns of the Church or Priestly hierarchy. In other words, it's what keep them in business. Religion is Man trying His (and yes, for the last two thousand years it has largely been a His business) best to try and divine (again, pardon the pun) 'reality' in this world. And Man (especially The Church) is not inerrant. Far from it.

The Books of the Gospels (what are now accepted as such) are the Top Four Greatest Hits of Jesus history. They were determined by the Nicene Council of 345 "AD" which was 'convened' by King Constantin (as close to the original spelling of his name -- not 'Constantine') to 'determine' what this 'document' should hold "For All Eternity." It was the convening of all the 'Bishops' of the Church -- all the leaders of the already splintering 'Message' of 'Jesus' (Jesu Christos, from the Greek from which Paulus ben Tarkus [otherwise known as "Paul" to you later day folks]) , to 'determine' 'The Truth' from apostasy.  And basically any Bishop who didn't agree with Contantin about what this new Book would hold, were 'disappered' by one of his Roman Sicarii (assassins) and therefore, couldn't vote.

Now, "Jesus" said many things in the Bible, many of which are contradictory (depending on which 'Gospel' you read. What he said in Matthew, is different than in John). This is because each of the Gospels is the canon of a particular group; one for the Jewish followers (who believed that Jesus was teaching a Jewish theology), two for the Greek followers (again divided into one for the former Jewish believers, and one for the 'pagan' Greek new followers [to which Paul was writing in the 'Gospels of Paul' known as the Letters or the Epistles. 

And then there was John; written from the followers of the converted 'pagan' Romans (largely carried through the Roman soldiers who converted; for these, Jesus was refashioned into an amalgam of Jesus of the Jews and the Roman Patron god of war, Mithras ["I come, not with an olive branch, but with a sword to cleave the wicked from the Branch of Life."]).

And if you want proof, read all the Gospels. In three of them, the 'Clensing of the Temple' happened at the end of his ministry. In only one of them, it happens at the beginning. This is crucial for the reading of his mission, because in John, it happens at the beginning of the Mission to show that even the Romans were afraid of Jesus. This of course did not happen. 

If you want to parse out what The Real Jesus said, he spoke only of peace, love and forgiveness -- all those things that most Fundamentalists would like you to think of as the Pinko-Commie-Faggot Jesus. 'Our Jesus was a man, not a wimpy do-nothing, one of those... You know what I mean.' They speak of forgiveness, but it usually only applies to their own errant followers who publicly admit (after they are caught) to being 'Sinners.'  This is the 'edited for content' and Church Temporal Power "Jesus" who was re-fashioned as the Fire and the Sword 'Jesus.' "I come, not with an olive branch..."
And to top it off, the Bible was later fashioned as the Catechism of 'The Holy Roman Catholic Church'; the template for eternal forgiveness (where the Church solidified its position when  Jesus 'failed' to return "before this generation passes" (which originally meant 'within the lifetime of the listeners,' not two thousand or so years later.), where the Church would get all those Sinners to come to Mass three times a day (along with donating to the Church Coffers, which is how the Church grew into into the Temporal Empire it became), in order that 'thy soul should not suffer "the Fires of Eternal Damnation."  

All of this only goes to show that The Bible is a 'testament,' and not formal history. It is an agglomerate of all of the various Traditions (all of which which were not Jewish were 'pagan') and interpretations that were taken and sieved through, first by Constantin and later by the 'Bishops of Rome' and the Papacy, and were 're-interpreted' by many of the Protestant Traditions and Faiths later on.  

And yes finally, (and most crucially to our modern times), by the Fundamentalists, who have taken the 'Gospel of John' and Revelations to be whole of the Bible -- except for the portions where the Catholics had Jesus use the Jewish 'Old Testament' for 'signs and portents' that proved that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah as well (The 'New' Testament, as in 'superseding' the 'Old' Jewish Testament) -- but conveniently discard when it comes down to it.

And yes, finally, to those who (mostly Fundamentalist or Orthodox Catholic believers) claim that they are "Biblical Scholars" let me say; that to be a "Biblical Scholar" is not just a case of 'studying' the Bible to learn what Your Church claims is the Inerrant Word of God as stated categorically from what Your Church, and what it has told you. It's a question of studying all of Church History, its underlying roots and traditions, and knowing where all the elements came from that go into that 'Church Canon' that began being shaped so long ago now by Constantin. It is not just the venerated 'quotes' taken out of context, that come at cross purposes (again, those puns!) to what you want Jesus to be and to have said. It is taking all  of it, sifting through to find the Real Jesus (the real Rebbi Yeshua bar Yosef), and what he said to those who were standing listening, not those whose 'telephone game' version was passed down (and majorly edited) through time. 

There is an historical Jesus in The Book, but you need to read between the Canonical Lines to find him. [And I do not capitalize the 'H,' as he did not really claim to be the only Son of God. But that's another blog for another time.] 

1 comment:

  1. Regarding ancient history and written records of it, you're presuppositions are incorrect. For example, do you also deny the historical Socrates? Because there is far less manuscript evidence for his teachings than there is for the teachings of Jesus. Perhaps Socrates is just made up bullshit philosophers use to deceive us. Did Caesar really cross the Rubicon? How can we really know? Are we supposed to trust the flimsy manuscript evidence for this even yet reject the far superior manuscript evidence for the Bible? In other words, you are failing to hold that ancient history which you do chose trust in to the same standard you hold the Bible to.


    Author Date
    Written Earliest Copy Approximate Time Span between original & copy Number of Copies Accuracy of Copies
    Lucretius died 55 or 53 B.C. 1100 yrs 2 ----
    Pliny 61-113 A.D. 850 A.D. 750 yrs 7 ----
    Plato 427-347 B.C. 900 A.D. 1200 yrs 7 ----
    Demosthenes 4th Cent. B.C. 1100 A.D. 800 yrs 8 ----
    Herodotus 480-425 B.C. 900 A.D. 1300 yrs 8 ----
    Suetonius 75-160 A.D. 950 A.D. 800 yrs 8 ----
    Thucydides 460-400 B.C. 900 A.D. 1300 yrs 8 ----
    Euripides 480-406 B.C. 1100 A.D. 1300 yrs 9 ----
    Aristophanes 450-385 B.C. 900 A.D. 1200 10 ----
    Caesar 100-44 B.C. 900 A.D. 1000 10 ----
    Livy 59 BC-AD 17 ---- ??? 20 ----
    Tacitus circa 100 A.D. 1100 A.D. 1000 yrs 20 ----
    Aristotle 384-322 B.C. 1100 A.D. 1400 49 ----
    Sophocles 496-406 B.C. 1000 A.D. 1400 yrs 193 ----
    Homer (Iliad) 900 B.C. 400 B.C. 500 yrs 643 95%
    Testament 1st Cent. A.D. (50-100 A.D. 2nd Cent. A.D.
    (c. 130 A.D. f.) less than 100 years 5600 99.5%
    As you can see, there are thousands more New Testament Greek manuscripts than any other ancient writing. The internal consistency of the New Testament documents is about 99.5% textually pure. That is an amazing accuracy. In addition there are over 19,000 copies in the Syriac, Latin, Coptic, and Aramaic languages. The total supporting New Testament manuscript base is over 24,000.