Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
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30-07-2016, 09:53 AM
RE: Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
(30-07-2016 12:00 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  
Quote:So instead of fighting against the Messiah title, he decided to embrace it and argue that its meaning was spiritual as opposed to literal.

Consider the historical reality. Here we have a poor, oppressed young Jewish religious fanatic. Some of hiis friends and relatives had been killed by Romans. He wandered around Galilee attracting crowds of people, and had an entourage of peasants disciples. His cousin John was killed by Herod for being a political threat. Do you really imagine he was preoccupied with the spiritual meaning of Messiah? Surely you can see the wood through the trees to realise that this has been written into the gospels and this guy was, in fact, trying to start a war?

Firstly, there is no good evidence that Jesus actually was a cousin of John the Baptist. You can only ascertain this from 1 single gospel record; Luke. This tells me again that you are respecting the gospels for some degree of historical value, although this part regarding Jesus being a cousin to John does not find any good support.

To me, the only reason Luke claims that Jesus was John's cousin was to give Jesus more credibility in the prophecy department.

All available evidence gives absolutely no indication that the motives of Jesus of Nazareth were, in any way, war related. All available information indicates that he was a man of peace, who's popularity made him famous enough to attract the attention of the high priests, who then feared that because the common people claimed Jesus to be a Messiah king, it would start a war with the Romans.

But there is not one iota of evidence that indicates that this Jesus was any kind of a Messianic warrior.
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30-07-2016, 10:55 AM
RE: Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
(30-07-2016 12:06 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  
Quote:Sometime soon after his crucifixion, Paul emerged on the scene as a man on a mission to hunt down and kill the remaining ring leaders- apostles- of the sect of the Nazarenes.

I find this highly unlikely for the following reasons...

The Bible’s first mention of Paul is in Acts, where he is depicted as a devout Pharisee. Paul is portrayed as a bitter persecutor of Jesus’ followers in Jerusalem. This persecution was unlikely. Jesus’ original followers, the Nazarenes, were Jews, not Christians. Pharisees commonly argued with other Jews over the interpretation of Scripture, yet they did not physically attack those with different opinions.

Both Acts and Paul's letters both allude to and explicitly tell us he was persecuting the followers of Jesus.

Quote:There is no historical record of overt antagonism between Pharisees and Nazarenes in the 50’s and 60’s. In Acts, the author even relates an incident in which Peter (a disciple of Jesus) was saved by a speech from Gamaliel, the leader of the Pharisees, from being sentenced to death by the Sadducees (Acts 5:37.) You do not save someone from persecution if you are persecuting him!

Are you again using the bible for your history? If so, then this same Book of Acts also shows the Pharisee attacking other Jews, such as the Nazarene.

In fact, Josephus' Antiquities of the Jews shows a constant infighting between Jews- not only of the different sects- but also within the same sects. It is rife with stories of betrayal, murder, and persecution, so I have no idea where you are getting the impression that Jewish sects didn't persecute or even murder one another.

Quote:If there was any conflict, it was between the Sadducees (the high priests) and the Nazarenes. The high priest occasionally physically persecuted the Nazarenes - Yeshua’s death is one example, and James’ (Jesus’ brother) murder under the orders of the high priest in 62 CE is another.

And here you just agreed that there was persecution between the sects, so not sure what you are trying to say about it being unlikely.

Quote:If Paul did, in fact, attack Yeshua’s followers, it would have been under the direction of the Sadducees, who were allied to the Roman establishment.

Nope, Paul was a Pharisee. He did it as a Pharisee.
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30-07-2016, 11:16 AM
RE: Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
Quote:
Quote:But they didn't want to anger him either, so they hatched a plot and sold it to Paul that he could be an apostle to the Gentiles, but not to the Jews. They just wanted him gone.

I wonder why you think the Nazarenes were intimidated by Paul? Paul had no power in his own time. He was a legend in his own lunchbox, and I'm sure he could rant on, but he commanded no men, and had no legitimate authority, a fact that seems to have been glaringly obvious to any Jews who had anything to do with him.

Why would the very people who were the family and disciples of Jesus be intimidated by a pro Roman half Jew rabbiting on about a Christ? They knew that Paul had never met Jesus and therefore could not be an authority on him.

PS Or do you think Paul was in league with the Sadducees and thereby could throw some weight around?

If we accept the depiction in Acts and his letters of Paul's persecution of the followers of Jesus as being accurate, then the Nazarene sect would have every reason to be wary of Paul's supposed conversion. He could be a spy, trying to gain their trust for example.

I think Paul was simply caught up in the persecution of the followers of Jesus, and took it upon himself to persecute them just like many other Pharisee did. He was nothing special or different than any other Pharisee in this respect.

Quote:
Quote:Paul, in his vanity... went on his merry way to present what little he knew about Jesus to the Gentiles. Unarmed and uneducated with knowledge, he had to fabricate things about Jesus by pretending that he alone was some kind of psychic channel for the spirit of Jesus Christ. He managed to gather together a few followers of his own, and thus the religion of Christianity was born, a strong competitor to the Nazarenes.

I sort of agree with this. I suspect there were many "Pauls," all agents of the Roman government, and this was how Christianity was born. It just happens that Paul's writings survived. And, yes, I have no proof of this "many Pauls" hypothesis...I am just having an educated guess.

You may actually have proof. After all, we do have some letters that may not be genuine to Saul of Tarsus, and we also have many other writings exterior to the bible that are attributed to him, but we know it wasn't him.

Have you thought about looking at it from that angle? Not that I believe it, but still, it's in evidence that can allude to the possibility.

Quote:
Quote:Personally I find the arguments for complete myth to be even less believable than the miracles attributed to Jesus...

Oops! Did you really mean to write this?

Yes, absolutely.

Quote:
Quote:...for the simple reason that they are at the very least complete fabrications with no basis in truth whatsoever. It's a smoke and mirror game, but those of us with a decent education cannot be fooled by it. It may appeal to the young and the uneducated, but to those of us with degrees in knowledge, it has no hope whatsoever of ever being regarded as actual history.

You sound very confident that there was a Jesus. Please explain why ( you can leave out the Tacitus bit...I've read that already). Bear in mind that I think there was a Jesus too, but I'm less confident than you.

Because nothing else explains the available evidence better than historicity.

The evidence does not go away when anyone proclaims "complete myth." After all the screaming and shouting is done, the evidence still remains.

It doesn't disappear when someone writes of a parallel Jesus/Yeshua story, such as you did. We have seen this before from Doherty, and others. None are taken seriously. No offense, but it's true.

The evidence remains without adequate refute, and in most cases, without any reasonable refutation whatsoever. Making claims of interpolation against all the evidence borders upon insanity, and reeks of desperation. It simply looks so ridiculous as to elicit laughter in the scholarly community. It really does.
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30-07-2016, 04:55 PM
RE: Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
(30-07-2016 09:02 AM)GoingUp Wrote:  
(29-07-2016 11:50 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Mmmmmmm.

How would you explain him riding into Jerusalem like a King at Passover and being greeted by throngs of people? It sound to me much more like he really thought he was the messiah.

Not a Messiah of war. That was his contention with being hailed as a Messiah.

If he would have rode into Jerusalem on a horse, it would depict him as a Messianic King seeking war. But since it was a donkey, the donkey represents a Messianic King seeking peace.

This is why I told you that he was afraid of being claimed as being a Messiah, because in the minds of most orthodox Jews the Messiah would be a man of war.

More on that here.

Quote:"They" was a cohort of Roman soldiers. 500 sweaty men. They arrested the wannabe king of Israel.

Where are you getting the 500 soldiers from?

Quote:Not likely. I note your language..."the Jews." This is non sensical. "The Jews" were Jesus' own people.

It's not nonsensical when we are speaking about it from the perspective of a non Jew. The Jews stoned other Jews.

"Not a Messiah of war."

I disagree. I think Jesus was a zealot. When one reads between the lines, the bare facts of his life point strongly to the fact he was a militant. Here is some of my evidence.

Apart from Luke’s brief mention of him as a twelve-year-old, (Luke 2:41–47) the Gospels failed to mention any notable facts about Jesus’ life until he was aged about thirty, a remarkable omission. Writing a comprehensive biography obviously wasn’t their priority, and they probably weren’t as familiar with his story as they would have liked their readers to think they were. It’s also possible they knew facts about him that they chose not to document.

Yeshua’s family was said to be poor, so he would probably have had to toil to take care of them—perhaps as a farmer, or possibly as a laborer constructing the cities of Sepphoris or Tiberias. In about 19 CE, when Yeshua was a young man, the city of Tiberias on the banks of the Sea of Galilee was under construction, thirty kilometers from today’s Nazareth. He must have walked through its streets. Today it’s Northern Israel’s most popular holiday resort. That would have kept him busy six days a week. The seventh day was the Sabbath, on which no Jew would do any work.

The young man breathed Galilean air that was thick with anti-Roman feeling. He would have heard stories about Jewish men killed by Roman soldiers, and how their families were abducted, and maybe even seen the fighting first hand. Every day he would have had to face the ugly reality of being poor, and would have blamed the pagans with their brutal army for the way things were. This wasn’t the glorious kingdom God had promised Israel in scripture.

Many larger cities in Galilee housed Gentiles, and Yeshua would have resented their presence, yet would have had little to do with them.

The Jewish expectation for a political leader, (a Messiah or “savior”) had been introduced in parts of Isaiah, which was probably written during or just after the Babylonian captivity. It refers to the restoration of the nation of Israel. (http://www.jewfaq.org/mashiach.htm). In Yeshua’s day there was a widespread hope among Jews that a Messiah would lead the people in a revolt to establish the “kingdom of God,” in which Jews would be in charge and the world’s wealth would be distributed evenly, not condensed in Roman hands and aristocratic families. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mes...laimants).

Josephus, writing in the late first century, explains why Jews were so inspired by these patriotic dreams:
“That which chiefly excited them to war was an ambiguous prophecy, which was also found in the sacred books, that at that time someone, within their country should arise, that should obtain the empire of the whole world. For this they had spoken of one of their nation; and many wise men were deceived with the interpretation” (Josephus, Wars of the Jews.)

Two secular Roman historians say something similar:
“There had spread all over the Orient an old and established belief, that it was fated for men coming from Judea to rule the world.” (Seutonius, Life of Vespasian, 4.5.)
“The majority [of the Jews] were convinced that the ancient scriptures of their priests alluded to the present as the very time when the Orient would triumph and from Judea would go forth men destined to rule the world.” (Tacitus, Histories 5.13.)

Throughout the first century revolutionary groups of zealots led by hopeful messianic leaders commonly formed, promised apocalyptic deliverance, but achieved nothing lasting. The Qumran community, who compiled the Dead Sea Scrolls, was one such group. They had a pathological hatred for the Romans (whom they called the “Kittim.”) They also despised the Sadducees, who they regarded as Rome’s lackeys. After years of Roman domination, they dreamed of a bloody revenge. A part of the Scrolls describes a fantasy of a battle in which the Kittim were crushed:
“This shall be a time of salvation for people of God, and age of dominion for all the members of His company, and of everlasting destruction for the company of Satan… The dominion of the Kittim shall come to an end and iniquity shall be vanquished, leaving no remnant for the sons of darkness, there shall be no escape. The sons of righteousness shall shine over all the ends of earth; they shall go on shining until all the seasons of darkness are consumed and, at the season appointed by God, His exalted greatness shall shine eternally to the peace, blessing, glory, and long life of all the sons of light” (http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/scroll...h/07.htm). The leader of the army who led them in this fantasized battle is unequivocally called the “messiah.” They were obviously fanatical and, as things turned out, rather deluded, as neither God nor a successful messiah ever made an appearance.

The poorer classes must have pondered over this political pipe dream. It’s not hard to imagine that any charismatic Jew brave enough to claim he was the messiah could soon collect a gang of Galilean paupers to back him up, particularly if he was said to be David’s descendant. A young Yeshua must have wondered who this messiah was going to be.

As most Essenes were celibate, Yeshua may not have had a family of his own. Nor would he have been bothered with accumulating wealth. He was a man with an altogether different agenda. I think he made a career out of preaching about his political aspirations for Israel.

Most young men are irked by any imposition on their freedom. If they are poor and have little hope for a positive future, their frustration escalates. In most cultures, identity and self-respect are aligned with religious and ethnic affiliation. Bad feelings against foreigners boil over if these features of identity are compromised. Picture young Arabs in the Gaza strip for the modern equivalent.

Yeshua was young, poor, oppressed, and almost certainly a religious idealist.

Yeshua the Zealot

Yeshua was part of the underdog class, and lived in a time and in a place that was a hotbed of political unrest. He had the right pedigree to be a zealot; he talked, lived, and associated with zealots, and he was killed as a zealot, (discussed shortly) so he obviously was a zealot. I think he fashioned himself as the head of a gang of Galilean militants, men who resented the fact that Romans were rulers in God’s holy land. They wanted to free their people from foreign command and create an illustrious Israel. Much of the evidence for this is in the bible.

Matthew claims that Herod the Great was perturbed that the baby Jesus might one day be king, so had a lot of Jewish baby boys killed, but there’s no historical secular evidence for this. The author wanted the reader to think Herod considered Jesus a threat because he was priming people with the idea that Jesus was destined to be their messiah, the king of Israel.

Simon (his brother) is twice named as a zealot (Luke 6:15, http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?sea...rsion=NIV, Acts 1:13, http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts 1&version=NIV). Judas Iscariot may have been a zealot because the name “Iscariot” is cognate with the Latin “Sicarius,” a dagger-wielding zealot assassin. Simon Peter was known as “Bar-jona,” (Mt. 16:17) a name commonly given to zealots. James, another of Yeshua’s brothers, and John, one of his disciples, shared the nickname “Boanerges” or in Hebrew “benei ra’ash,” which meant “sons of thunder,” another well-known zealot reference. (http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/j...ial.html). It’s unlikely the Gospel authors invented these pro Jewish names, so they’re probably genuine.

Young men two thousand years ago were just as brave, worldly and idealistic as they are today. Yeshua’s disciples wouldn’t have given up their jobs and families to tramp around the countryside to listen to platitudes. Life was too harsh and the times too cutthroat for that. I think they wanted to create a better life for themselves and their families. They’d been raised in a culture that glorified the one and only god they’d ever known, Yahweh, who they thought was on their side, and who they imagined was offended by the presence of Gentiles in his holy land.

Consider Jesus’ attitude to violence:
“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth: it is not peace I have come to bring, but a sword” (Matt. 10:34, NJB.) Some Christians go to great lengths discussing what Jesus “really meant” when he said this, yet in my opinion none of their arguments are convincing.

Consider Jesus’ attitude to the rich:
“Yes, I tell you again, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 19:24, NJB.) In Jesus’ day the wealthy were in bed with the Romans.

Consider what Luke has a follower of Jesus say shortly after the crucifixion:
“Our own hope had been that he would be the one to set Israel free” (Luke 24:21, NJB.) To set Israel free could only mean one thing in first century Judea - to remove Roman rule.

The fact that Yeshua was portrayed as a zealot is staring us in the face from the pages of the bible! More evidence for this follows.

Brothers in Arms…John and Yeshua

According to James Tabor, in The Jesus Dynasty, John the Baptist started a messianic movement, well before Yeshua arrived on the scene. John was probably a charismatic Essenian teacher, a man who created excitement. The people considered him a prophet; someone qualified to tell them what God expected. He had the credentials to be a legitimate priest, as he was said to be a descendant of Aaron (see Luke 1;5.) He obviously refused to respect the temple hierarchy in Jerusalem, as he never associated with them. Instead, he went into the wilderness to proclaim to the people that the coming of the messiah was close at hand, which meant only one thing to poor Jews: a war was on the horizon. John baptized believers and told his brethren to repent and get ready for the beginning of a new world order in which they wouldn’t be poor and oppressed. His message may have been well received, as the bible boasts he attracted big audiences. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BpWNL1vyQz0).

The site on the River Jordan where John baptized people is only three miles from Qumran, the home of a large Essene community that hid the Dead Sea Scrolls a few decades later. No one knows if he associated with them, but it’s probable.

The Gospels claim that John and Jesus held each other in high regard, and that they were cousins. John, in his own time, was a better-known figure than Yeshua, as he’d already preached for a number of years, and had a contingent of followers before Yeshua cropped up. The Gospel writers couldn’t imply that Yeshua played a subordinate role, so each strove to make Jesus seem more senior than John. Yet they couldn’t conceal the fact that John baptized the novitiate. In reality John was the more established and authoritative instructor, and Yeshua was his protégé.

Yeshua’s stature grew as time went by. The two of them might have planned that once they had established political power in Palestine, John, the heir of Aaron, was to be the new high priest and Yeshua, the descendent of David, the new king of Israel.

I think they parted ways to double the capacity of their campaign, which involved telling carefully selected, disgruntled groups of Jews about their plan to wage a war. I suspect the two young men used religion to excite and galvanize large numbers of poor patriotic Jews. Baptizing people with water was a symbolic re-enactment of the ancient Jews’ (fictitious) crossing of the Red Sea to freedom. The two friends were offering Jews a new freedom, a freedom from Rome.

James Tabor states that by the end of 27 CE, the messianic movement started by John recognized two types of Jews in Palestine, those who’d responded by being baptized, and those who hadn’t. This was no small-scale backyard scheme; it was a serious shift in the peasant population towards militancy.

Herod Antipas, the Romans’ puppet king, must have been watching John like a hawk. Any Galilean prophet preaching to the public was presumed to be a zealot. He had John arrested and killed. This is how Josephus described John’s murder:
“…what he did against John, that was called the Baptist; for Herod slew him, who was a good man, and commanded the Jews to exercise virtue, both as to righteousness toward one another, and piety toward God, and so to come to baptism; for that the washing would be acceptable to him, if they made use of it, not in order to the putting away of some sins, but for the purification of the body: supposing still that the soul was thoroughly purified beforehand by righteousness. Now, when many others came in crowds about him, for they were greatly moved by hearing his words, Herod, who feared lest the great influence John had over the people might put it into his power and inclination to raise a rebellion, (for they seemed ready to do anything he should advise,) thought it best, by putting him to death, to prevent any mischief he might cause, and not bring himself into difficulties, by sparing a man who might make him repent of it when it should be too late. Accordingly, he was sent a prisoner, out of Herod’s suspicious temper, to Macherus, the castle I before mentioned, and was there put to death.” (Antiquities 18.5.2 116-119.) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josephus_on_Jesus).

Herod was wary of a coup commanded by John, so had him killed. The Gospel authors deliberately didn’t detail the real reason for John’s death, because it didn’t fit with their invented image of John and Jesus as pacifist evangelists. Josephus also points out that John had criticized Herod for marrying his brother’s wife, which wouldn’t have endeared him to Herod. John’s death in early 28 CE must have been a serious setback.

Yeshua Takes over the Leadership


At age thirty, Essene men traditionally took on a leadership role. All eyes would have turned to Yeshua, the consummate candidate. He stepped up to the mark and took over as leader. He may have inherited four of John’s disciples, namely Simon Peter, Andrew, Philip, and Nathanael, (John 1:35–42) and they became part of an inner council of twelve.

Yeshua had to prove he was a charismatic and capable leader or risk the momentum of the movement fizzling out. He knew that the prophets had predicted a messiah. Jeremiah wrote:
“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, the Lord our righteousness” (Jer. 23:5–6, KJV) and there were similar predictions in Isaiah 9:7, Micah 5:4, and Amos 9:11. I think he thought God had made it clear in scripture what was expected of him.

Today’s politicians tour their electorate before an election to meet the people, increase their profile, sell their message, and gauge support. Yeshua toured the countryside too, for the same reasons. I think his message was that he wanted to start a war, in Jerusalem, ideally around Passover time, when large groups of patriots who knew of the plan were gathered together.

Yeshua, the social revolutionary, may have declared something like
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:18–19, KJV) and
“Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh” (Luke 6:20–21, KJV) and,
“But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation. Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep” (Luke 6:24–25, KJV.) The meaning is clear; he thought the kingdom of God was about to be established, a glorious Israel was just around the corner, Roman rule was about to end.

Yeshua, the bellicose insurgent, may have said,
“And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force” (Matt. 11:12, KJV.)

These rally calls weren’t what everyone wanted to hear. Some of his fellow Jews
“rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong. But he passing through the midst of them went his way” (Luke 4:29–30, KJV.) Why such an angry reaction? Yeshua called for the overthrow of the social structure, and that didn’t suit everyone. There were some powerful people making more than a good living just the way things were. Some of the people would have been petrified at the prospect of a war with Rome.

Dreaming about his mission as messiah might have inspired Yeshua, yet he would have been wary. He knew there had been many hopeful heroes before him who had failed, and most of them had been killed. He knew there was a new Roman procurator, Pontius Pilate, in Jerusalem, who was brutal towards anyone challenging Roman rule. He must have been well aware that a gruesome death could be his ultimate fate too.
He probably knew Herod Antipas was after him, as suggested in the bible. Luke wrote,
“Just at this time some Pharisees came up. Go away they said, leave this place, because Herod means to kill you” (Luke 13:31, NJB.) If Jesus had been a harmless religious enthusiast roaming the countryside preaching to the people about God and life, Herod would have had no reason to seek him out. Some Pharisees obviously admired Yeshua and hoped to save him from a Roman crucifixion. He heeded the warning by crossing the Sea of Galilee to put himself beyond Herod’s reach. (see Matthew 14:13.)

The Synoptic Gospels named Jesus’ twelve disciples. There are some discrepancies between them, but his three brothers (James, Jude, and Simon) are deliberately mentioned last in all three, along with Judas the traitor, so as to minimize their importance. Yet, considering the importance of family in ancient Israel, it’s far more likely his three brothers were, in fact, his dearest disciples.

Yeshua may have drilled his disciples with the direction to
“Go nowhere among the gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matt. 10:5–6, NJB.) He wasn’t about to give his plans away to enemy agents.

Some of the people
“believed in him...when he spoke many more came to believe” (John 4:39–41, NJB.) The Gospel authors usually hid from their readers what “believing in him” really meant, but not always:
“Many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary and had seen what he did believed in him but some of them went to tell the Pharisees what Jesus had done. Then the chief priests and Pharisees called a meeting. Here is this man working all these signs they said and what action are we taking? If we let him go on in this way everybody will believe in him and the Romans will come and destroy our Holy place and our nation” (John 11:45–49, NJB.) This is precisely what happened thirty-five odd years later, in 70 CE, when the Romans pillaged the countryside, laid siege to Jerusalem and destroyed the temple, a fact well known to the author of John. Here it is in black and white: the bible was clearly implying that Jesus was plotting to start a war with Rome, a war that the chief priests and Pharisees thought they would lose!

Jesus’ message wasn’t well received in some towns:
“Then he began to reproach the towns in which most of his miracles had been worked, because they refused to repent. ‘Alas for you Chorazin! Alas for you Bethsaida! For if the miracles done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon they would have repented long ago in sack cloth and ashes. And still I tell you it will not go as hard on Judgment day on Tyre and Sidon as with you. And as for you Capernaum, did you want to be exalted as high as heaven? You shall be thrown down into hell. For if the miracles done in you had been done in Sodom, you would have been standing yet. And still I tell you that it will not go as hard with the land of Sodom on Judgment day as with you” (Matt. 11:20–24, NJB.) Jesus is said to have spent a lot of time in Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum, three places located on or near the north shore of the Sea of Galilee and populated almost exclusively by Jews. These towns were, in a nationalistic and geographical sense, part of his home turf. Why wouldn’t the inhabitants support him? My guess is that the locals were terrified of the consequences of another revolt. Jesus discovered he couldn’t count on their assistance, so he cursed them and moved on.

Jesus spent at least a year, and maybe three, tramping around the countryside trying to elicit promises of military help. The Gospels allege he was a harmless rabbi preaching ethics and theology, attracting large audiences hoping for a miracle. I think his agenda was a lot harsher, more desperate and dangerous than that. Convincing peasants to pick up arms against professional troops was no easy task. Trying to sell himself as the messiah would have been a tricky business. The fact he was attracting a weighty following would have raised Roman suspicion, so he had to be very careful not to be arrested. Any unfamiliar face he encountered may have been a spy. His supporters must have had to regularly scan the horizon for danger. He had a public image as a courageous and capable leader to promote, which would have been tiresome. The sun must have baked his skin, and the hot sand stung his eyes. Water was sparse, so he would have been caked in sweat and grime. At night he would often have had to sleep out in the open. It must have been a struggle to find shelter and food. In those times by age 30 people’s teeth were infected and falling out. Wounds healed slowly and parasites caused diarrhea. He must have been malnourished. A less determined man may have found the going too tough. After at least a year or more on the road, playing hide and seek with pro Roman enemies, I suspect he was probably physically and mentally drained.

Yeshua Enters Jerusalem

Toward what was to be the end of his campaign, he focused on Jerusalem. It was the political, economic and spiritual center of the Jewish nation, and boasted a large Jewish population that swelled exponentially around Passover. If he was going to begin an insurrection, it had to start there.

According to the Gospel of John, he preached by day at the temple and retreated to a safe house at nearby Bethany before nightfall. He was anointed with oil. The word “messiah” means an anointed one, as does the name “Christ.” So the name Jesus Christ is referring to Jesus, the anointed one. In the Old Testament, to anoint someone was a one-time event that specifically selected the person as a king or a high priest (or maybe a prophet.) I think he wanted to be a king. By being anointed, he was publically accepting his post as the messiah, the king of the Jews.

Passover was an annual commemoration of Jewish freedom at which the city accommodated 300-400,000 pilgrims. Roman authorities were on their guard against civil disobedience. Pilate, the Roman governor, always attended to keep an eye on things. Roman soldiers were outnumbered by something like one hundred to one. The event was a tinderbox that could catch alight given the right spark, and everyone knew it.

When he allegedly rode a donkey into the excited atmosphere in Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, throngs of jubilant Jews greeted him, so everyone knew someone special had arrived. He effectively broadcasted his intentions to the crowd, many of who had earlier been primed with his plan. Pious pilgrims were expected to walk into the Holy City, so he was deliberately doing his best to stand out from the rabble by riding. The son of David had surfaced and was staking his claim! He may have been trying to fulfill a prophesy from Zechariah, who wrote,
“Rejoice heart and soul, daughter of Zion! Shout with gladness daughter of Jerusalem! See now, your king comes to you; he is victorious, he is triumphant, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey,” (Zech. 9:9, NJB) assuming, of course, a Gospel author didn’t retrofit the donkey part of the plot into the story.

Yeshua must have known that to play the part of a king was an act of treason against Caesar, and punishable by death, yet he did it right under the noses of the Sadducees and the Romans. It was a move made by a brave man. It could have been a calculated lampoon of the entrance one would expect from a Roman emperor. I think he was taking a gamble, guessing he wouldn’t, or couldn’t, be arrested because he was so popular with the people.

I think he was hoping to enlist the support of the Jewish revelers in Jerusalem, and with their help overpower the Roman garrison and thereby launch a full-scale rebellion against Rome. This was quite an ambitious agenda, and he would have been well aware of the risks, yet encouraged by the hope that his God was going to help him.
Matthew claimed the crowds in Jerusalem hailed him as a hero:
“Great crowds of people spread their cloaks on the road, while others were cutting branches from trees spreading them in his path. The crowds who went in front of him and who followed were all shouting: Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessings on him who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heavens! And when he entered Jerusalem the whole city was in turmoil. Who is this people asked, and the crowds answered, this is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee” (Matt. 21:8–12, NJB.) “Hosanna” was a Jewish exclamation welcoming someone who “saves.” It was a cry of independence. The spectators were saluting the son of David, a legitimate Jewish king.

Luke wrote,
“Some Pharisees in the crowd said to him, ‘Master, check your disciples,’ but he answered, ‘I tell you, if these keep silence the stones will cry out’” (Luke 19:39–40 JB.) It sounds like Yeshua put on a persuasive performance. He proved himself plucky and purposeful, just like a real ruler. The crowds bought it, and were excited. The whole city was in turmoil. This was a high point in his career and he would have been flushed with excitement. Everything was going to plan. He now had to be careful he wasn’t arrested before he’d rallied Jewish fighters under his wing.

The next day he went to the temple. This was where fees were to be paid to the priests, and to the moneychangers who exchanged Roman coinage and Jewish currency. It was also where money was collected to pay for the places that offered ritual bathing, for the actual animals, and for the priests to kill the animals. There was rent to be collected from the hoards of visitors who had to stay over-night, and fees for feeding them. The priests had engineered things so that the temple was where all this happened. Yeshua was clearly compromising all this by turning the tables over, causing a ruckus in a city centered on the temple-based economy. He must have had a crowd of Jewish supporters to cheer him on and protect him, so to arrest him on the spot would have been difficult. To start a scene in the temple and test the authority of the Sadducees was making another affirmation that he’d arrived. It showed he was willing to be aggressive to achieve his aims.

That night he returned to a safe house at Bethany, yet Luke’s account makes it clear that Jewish authorities had him under surveillance.

The next day he again provoked the temple hierarchy by debating them in public. Matthew had Jesus state that what belonged to Caesar should be returned to Caesar, (Matt. 22:21) in other words that Jews should pay taxes to Rome. I think this was written in to derail readers from reaching the conspicuous conclusion that Jesus was a zealot. It makes no sense to imagine that a man who turned over tables in the temple would pay tax to Caesar.

The atmosphere in Jerusalem must have been tense. Something definitive was bound to happen soon; one of the sides was going to pick up their weapons. Consider the principal players in the evolving events.

On one side was Yeshua, who was convinced he was a king and the messiah of Israel. He’d been emboldened and protected by a show of support from a pepped up Jewish populace. He was now under pressure to play his hand. At this critical time, tactics were everything. He knew there had to be a fight, but how and when to start it? He may have been waiting for divine help from Yahweh, whom he knew had helped previous prophets win wars, because that was what was written in scripture.
On the other side were the Roman army and the chief priest, the Sanhedrin and their associates. Pontius Pilate, who contemporary historians described as dictatorial and violent, supervised the soldiers who were nervous, organized, trained, and in fine fettle. Jewish leaders knew Yeshua was hoping to start a revolt. They were powerful men supported by Rome and the last thing they wanted was a zealot stirring up the people. A Jewish insurrection would threaten their positions and even their lives, because the Roman garrison couldn’t protect them from thousands of hotheaded Jews. They had to act quickly and decisively to prevent Yeshua gaining the upper hand. A conflict was inevitable. The stage was set for a showdown between Rome and what Yeshua believed was the true Israel.

Matthew made it clear Jesus was trying to rally the people:
“Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and made plans to arrest Jesus by some trick and have him put to death. They said ‘however it must not be during the festivities, there must be no disturbance among the people” (Matt. 26:3–6, NJB.) Luke wrote something similar:
“Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover. And the chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill him; for they feared the people.” (Luke 22:1-2, KJV) This was followed by
“And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them. But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet” (Luke 21:45–46, NJB.) The chief priests knew Yeshua was plotting against them, and that the crowds could turn ugly.

Yeshua was hoping for a large-scale battle, yet knew his immediate entourage of admirers would be easily outnumbered by Roman troops. He understood he inspired the rank and file, but could he count on them to confront professional soldiers in combat? To engage a few thousand Roman infantry in hand to hand hostility was an ominous prospect. The people weren’t soldiers. Many of them had families, a fact that didn’t deter his drive, as he had earlier pressured people to abandon their families and follow him. (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew 10:34-36&version=KJV). The people weren’t well armed. Luke had Jesus say to his disciples,
“If you have no sword, sell your cloak and buy one” (Luke 22:36, NJB.) He was getting his fellow Jews geared up for the great fight. He was playing the part of the messiah, and knew nothing about “blessed are the peacemakers” and “turn the other cheek.” When push came to shove, the gallant young man from Galilee was getting ready to fight for God and glory!

One night Yeshua retreated out of Jerusalem to the garden of Gethsemane, on the north east edge of Jerusalem, about 100 yards outside the city wall. The formation of an assembly at night was against Roman law. It’s claimed he directed his disciples to keep watch. He knew if his enemies got to him without the peoples’ protection all would be lost. Unfortunately for him, that’s exactly what happened.

Yeshua’s Arrest


Yeshua and his entourage were outmaneuvered. The Romans swooped on them in the garden of Gethsemane while Jewish residents slept. John claimed a cohort of soldiers was consigned to collar him:
“Judas the traitor knew the place well, since Jesus had often met his disciples there, and he brought the cohort to this place together with a detachment of guards sent by the chief priests and Pharisees, all with lanterns and torches and weapons” (John 18:3 JB.) Someone had betrayed him to the Romans. A cohort was six hundred Roman soldiers, one tenth of a legion. Pilate wouldn’t have sent this many men to arrest an agreeable, unarmed, peace-loving preacher who thought he was God. Yeshua was a big fish with an entourage of admirers, swimming in a city packed with potential patrons, so he needed to be decisively dealt with before things got out of hand.

Some of his disciples were with him at the time of his arrest. One or more of them was supposed to be on watch. It must have been intimidating to have that many soldiers tramping toward you in the dead of night, torchlight reflecting off their swords and armor, shining up a silhouette of trees in the distance. It was probably no contest. The Gospels make out Jesus was surprised force was used to capture him;
“And Jesus answered and said unto them, are ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and with staves to take me?” (Mark 14;48, KJV) which doesn’t ring true, particularly when we read in John that
“Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus.” (John 18;10, KJV.)
Most of his mates dashed off into the dark, leaving him to his fate. They’d been taken by surprise, outplayed by more experienced, professional opponents. Jesus was trumped before he’d made his master move. He was taken into custody, so was unable to issue instructions. His allies had let him down, and he must have known what was in store. Luke claimed he was sweating blood (Luke 22; 44.) He was trying to tell how terrified Jesus was about his impending crucifixion.

Much is made in the Gospels about Peter’s remorse for disowning Jesus. There were others in the troop too terrified to put their lives on the line, and they must have felt just as guilty. The fact Peter had to lie about his identity suggests the soldiers were chasing anyone who was part of the gang of insurrectionists.

Yeshua would have felt abandoned not only by his friends but also by his god. His work and dreams had come to nothing, and I imagine he probably played the last card of a wretched man by begging his god for a miracle.

The Trial

Matthew claims Jesus was arrested because he claimed he was divine, but Yeshua didn’t fantasize he was God. Jews believed in only one god, Yahweh. He wouldn’t have had any helpers if he’d made such a blasphemous claim. Nor could the Romans have cared less about a peasant’s delusions of grandeur. They never got involved in Jewish religious disputes unless they turned into a security issue. The high priest, the Sanhedrin, the Pharisees, Pilate, and his army all knew Yeshua had hoped to start a rebellion against Rome.

All the Gospel authors made out he was given a trial. He was taken before Pilate and the accusation made:
“We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar, saying that he himself is Christ, a King.” (Luke 23:2 NKJ.) Pilate asked Jesus if he was king of the Jews and Jesus answered,
“It is as you say it” (Luke 23:3 NKJ.) This perfectly described the crux of the issue: Jesus was accused of undermining the government and the taxation system. He effectively signed his own death warrant. Genuine Jewish kings didn’t pay Roman tax, so this contradicted Jesus’ earlier injunction to render unto Caesar that which belongs to Caesar (see Matthew 22:21.) (http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/j...ial.html).

Luke was the only Gospel author who claimed Jesus refused to talk to Herod. Yeshua would have hated Herod, the man who had his cousin beheaded. Herod found Jesus not guilty, which makes no sense, as Luke had earlier claimed Herod wanted Jesus killed. (Luke 13:31.)

Mark claimed,
“the chief priests however had incited the crowd” (Mark 15:11, NJB.) This poorly explained excuse was the only reason given in any of the Gospels for “the crowd” turning against Jesus. This crowd supposedly shouted that they’d rather have a common criminal, Barabbas, freed instead of Jesus. No such custom of releasing the crowd’s favorite was ever recorded in any non-biblical document. Mark implied this crowd was made up from Jerusalem’s people, who he earlier described as the “multitudes” who had welcomed their king as a hero in a ticker tape parade as Jesus rode into the city. This crowd thought Jesus was a prophet and laid clothes and branches at his feet. The chief priests feared they’d create “an uproar” if Jesus was arrested. Can anyone believe Jerusalem’s people had such a complete change of mind about their hero?

Romans were made to look as if they were really sympathetic towards Jesus. Pilate, the Roman governor, allegedly read a letter from his wife about a dream she had that Jesus was innocent. He supposedly said,
“I find no fault in this man” (Luke 23:4 KJV.) He’s depicted as trying to talk the angry Jews out of having Jesus crucified, but gave in to the public clamor, because
“in fact a riot was imminent” (Matt. 27:24 KJV.) So the crowd that was going to riot if Jesus was arrested (see Matt. 26:3–6) was now about to riot if he wasn’t crucified, a scenario that makes no sense. It’s obvious that Jesus’ Jewish compatriots wouldn’t have wanted him crucified, and this passage is a pro Roman fabrication.

Pilate, Rome’s representative, allegedly washed his hands of any responsibility for the decision to kill Jesus. This didn’t happen; it was theatrical propaganda, not real history. To pronounce a man innocent, then command your troops to kill him anyway, is preposterous and unhistorical. Pilate’s job was to keep the peace and make sure Jews paid tax. Jesus was a dangerous subversive threatening a rebellion, so Pilate couldn’t have found him innocent. There was probably no public trial. To have one at that time of year would be just asking for trouble.

Pilate was the Roman prefect of Judaea from AD 26–36. He’s described by contemporary secular historians as being notorious for his cruelty toward the Jews. Philo, an Alexandrian Jew, writing in 41 CE, stated that Pilate’s tenure in power was notable for its
“briberies, insults, robberies, outrages, wanton injustices, constantly repeated executions without trial, and ceaseless and grievous cruelty” (Legatio ad Gaium, 301–302.) Josephus too reported several instances of Pilate flagrantly inciting an insurrection, only to ruthlessly suppress it with his soldiers.

In 36 CE, Vitellius, the Roman Syrian governor, removed Pilate from his office after a violent attack on the Samaritans (Josephus, Antiquities 18.4.85.) He was ordered to Rome to face complaints of excessive cruelty against the Jews, found culpable, and exiled to Vienne, France. His true colors come across in secular history, not in the Gospels. The real Pilate clearly wasn’t a character wracked with ambivalence about whether to crucify Yeshua.

The Gospel authors couldn’t have Romans responsible for killing the son of God, because the Catholic Church became the Church of Rome. The solution was simple; they made the Romans look like unwilling participants in the proceedings, and then they accused the anonymous Jewish rabble of wanting Jesus dead. One of the authors of Matthew had Jews say,
“His blood be on us and our children” (Matt. 27:24–25, NJB.) Jews publically cursed themselves for being Christ-killers, which is highly improbable. The Jewish passersby allegedly mocked Jesus:
“The passersby jeered at him; they shook their heads and said ‘if you are God’s son, come down from the cross!’” (Matt. 27:39–40, NJB.) The Jewish crowd wouldn’t have been that callous to one of their own. They would have been appalled that Jesus was dying such a despicable death.

What’s more, if his fellow Jews had wanted to kill Jesus, he would have been stoned to death, which could only have happened if the Romans gave them permission.

Crucifixion was an agonizing, demeaning, public death, one reserved for insurgents. It was used by Romans to intimidate anyone who might undermine their authority. The Roman soldiers nailed zealots up naked on a cross; it was part of the humiliation. The degrading death was designed to discourage other charismatic leaders from having their own dangerous dreams.

The sign or “titulus” (Latin for “inscription” or “label”) was the Roman way of exhibiting the explanation for the execution. It was written by Pilate, and read “King of the Jews,” a reflection of Jesus’ real crime.

Luke had a dying Jesus say
“Father, forgive them, they do not know what they are doing,” (Luke 23:34, NJB) referring to the Roman soldiers who had just scourged, mocked and nailed him naked to a cross. I think he never said anything of the sort. He’s more likely to have damned these soldiers with his dying breaths!

A Roman centurion supposedly said,
“In truth this was the Son of God” (Matt. 27:54, NJB.) Yet Christianity, which claimed Jesus was the son of God, had yet to be invented!

The two men Yeshua was crucified with were labeled as “lestai,” incorrectly translated in some bibles as “robbers.” In fact “lestai” was a derogatory term for insurrectionists, who, by armed action, opposed Roman rule (http://www.drabruzzi.com/jesus_movement.htm, http://haqol.wordpress.com/2010/12/30/th...i-rebel/). So Jesus was crucified by the Romans between two zealots, we’re told he thought he was king of the Jews, and the reader is expected to believe he wasn’t a zealot!

Roman law allowed no burial rights to those killed by crucifixion. Yeshua’s emaciated body would have been left on display for the birds and dogs as a deterrent to others who might disobey Rome, although it’s possible Pilate made an exception and gave permission for the body to be buried.

Jesus’ death was a deeply disheartening development. The military muscle the movement may have mounted in Jerusalem had come to nothing, and their commander had been crucified. The kingdom of God must have seemed like an unattainable dream. Yet all was not lost. Yeshua was only one man. The Nazarenes could bounce back, just as they had after John’s demise. Someone charismatic needed to take control. That person was James, Yeshua’s brother.
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30-07-2016, 05:12 PM
RE: Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
(30-07-2016 09:53 AM)GoingUp Wrote:  
(30-07-2016 12:00 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Consider the historical reality. Here we have a poor, oppressed young Jewish religious fanatic. Some of hiis friends and relatives had been killed by Romans. He wandered around Galilee attracting crowds of people, and had an entourage of peasants disciples. His cousin John was killed by Herod for being a political threat. Do you really imagine he was preoccupied with the spiritual meaning of Messiah? Surely you can see the wood through the trees to realise that this has been written into the gospels and this guy was, in fact, trying to start a war?

Firstly, there is no good evidence that Jesus actually was a cousin of John the Baptist. You can only ascertain this from 1 single gospel record; Luke. This tells me again that you are respecting the gospels for some degree of historical value, although this part regarding Jesus being a cousin to John does not find any good support.

To me, the only reason Luke claims that Jesus was John's cousin was to give Jesus more credibility in the prophecy department.

All available evidence gives absolutely no indication that the motives of Jesus of Nazareth were, in any way, war related. All available information indicates that he was a man of peace, who's popularity made him famous enough to attract the attention of the high priests, who then feared that because the common people claimed Jesus to be a Messiah king, it would start a war with the Romans.

But there is not one iota of evidence that indicates that this Jesus was any kind of a Messianic warrior.

Firstly, there is no good evidence that Jesus actually was a cousin of John the Baptist. You can only ascertain this from 1 single gospel record; Luke. This tells me again that you are respecting the gospels for some degree of historical value,

So does it have to be two or three gospel authors who say something before it becomes "good evidence?" Let's just say that Jesus was closely associated with John then. All four gospels have Jesus being baptised by John or something similar. John was murdered. That would've pissed Jesus off.

Yes I do respect the gospels for some degree of historical value. Yet as Bucky points out they are documents of faith, and they have to be read with a very critical eye.
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30-07-2016, 05:21 PM (This post was last modified: 30-07-2016 06:23 PM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
(30-07-2016 09:53 AM)GoingUp Wrote:  
(30-07-2016 12:00 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Consider the historical reality. Here we have a poor, oppressed young Jewish religious fanatic. Some of hiis friends and relatives had been killed by Romans. He wandered around Galilee attracting crowds of people, and had an entourage of peasants disciples. His cousin John was killed by Herod for being a political threat. Do you really imagine he was preoccupied with the spiritual meaning of Messiah? Surely you can see the wood through the trees to realise that this has been written into the gospels and this guy was, in fact, trying to start a war?

Firstly, there is no good evidence that Jesus actually was a cousin of John the Baptist. You can only ascertain this from 1 single gospel record; Luke. This tells me again that you are respecting the gospels for some degree of historical value, although this part regarding Jesus being a cousin to John does not find any good support.

To me, the only reason Luke claims that Jesus was John's cousin was to give Jesus more credibility in the prophecy department.

All available evidence gives absolutely no indication that the motives of Jesus of Nazareth were, in any way, war related. All available information indicates that he was a man of peace, who's popularity made him famous enough to attract the attention of the high priests, who then feared that because the common people claimed Jesus to be a Messiah king, it would start a war with the Romans.

But there is not one iota of evidence that indicates that this Jesus was any kind of a Messianic warrior.

"But there is not one iota of evidence that indicates that this Jesus was any kind of a Messianic warrior."

Really? Well I will be interested to read your comments on my post. I have come to the opposite conclusion. Let's discuss.

Rather than passively accepting the conventional Christian account, I think we should pay Yeshua the man more respect by acknowledging his humanity, family, society, and religion. It makes sense to circumvent Christian mythology by placing him in the religious context of first-century Judaism, the political context of Roman occupation and violent oppression, and the social context of poverty.

He was the first-born child of a young Jewish girl, and his biological father, identity unknown, may not have been in the picture to offer him direction. He was probably part of a large family of peasants.

He would have been proudly Jewish, and familiar with Jewish scripture. Like many Jews of his time, he must have had some grandiose delusions, such as that Jews were the world’s superior people, specially favored by God and destined to show pagans the proper way to live. I think he imagined he was the messiah, a person depicted in scripture whose mission was to establish the kingdom of God, an ideal Jewish state, in which everyone worshipped Yahweh. It’s likely he was convinced his God would intervene in the affairs of men to help initiate this. None of these fantasies ever came to fruition.

As he grew up, he would have seen his fellow Galileans oppressed and impoverished by the Romans. His cousin John created a grassroots anti-Roman movement, which he joined. Herod Antipas, Rome’s puppet ruler, thought John was a threat, so had him murdered. Yeshua was brave enough to take over the rebels’ leadership, and worked hard to rally common Jews to his cause, which was nothing less than to expel the Romans and their collaborators from Israel. He wasn’t the first, or the last Jew to harbor such dreams, and it was a very risky business. His less militant countrymen eschewed joining his ranks.

His goal to overthrow the Romans must have seemed possible because of the enthusiasm with which he was sometimes received, yet (as best we know) he had no military experience or intelligence. So it’s no surprise that he fell flat. He had talked the talk but failed to deliver. The Romans captured, scourged, and crucified him, a punishment reserved for any rebellious insurgent who threatened Roman rule.

Yeshua promised a lot but didn’t achieve much. As he was dying in agony on a cross, he would have wondered why his God hadn’t helped him, and he must have figured he was a failure. Memories of other Jews crucified by the Romans may have flashed through his mind. His goal had been to liberate Israel, yet he only added his name to a long list of dead messiahs. Before he took his last breath, he may have wondered whether the Romans would ever be defeated.

It’s ironic that the Romans, the very people Yeshua despised, adopted him as their hero some three centuries after they killed him, and then blamed his own people, the Jews, for his death. The accusation that it was the Jewish people (as a whole) who demanded Jesus’ death is one of the most disgraceful deceptions in the bible, and it’s been the primary source of anti-Semitism throughout history ever since. That’s been devastating for the Jewish people, because churches have harassed the Jews as Christ-killers, with terrible consequences. Adolf Hitler, who was a Catholic, wrote
“I am convinced that I am acting as the agent of our Almighty Creator. By fighting the Jews, I am doing the Lord’s work.”(Mein Kampf p. 65.)

I feel some respect for Jesus the Jew because he had a tough life, yet he stood up for what he believed in. He tried hard to make a difference for his compatriots. It’s ironic that in places the Gospels portray him as a pacifist, when he was, in fact, a freedom fighter. They claim he praised the meek, yet he was a proud man who refused to accept poverty and oppression.

It’s fascinating that there are such obvious clues about Jesus the political insurgent scattered throughout the Gospels. I don’t know why they weren’t edited out.

There have been thousands of books written about Jesus in the last hundred years, so this assessment of his life is one of many. It fits well, I believe, with what we do know about the place and time in which he’s said to have lived. I admit I have cherry picked what Jesus may have said, and that my assessment doesn’t lie well with everything the Gospels claim he said. For example John’s Gospel has Jesus saying
“… My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.” (John 18:36 KJB.) Is not the hand of a pro-Roman author trying to disguise a militaristic Jesus obvious here? Matthew has Jesus say
“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” (Mattthew 5:9 KJB.) Can we realistically imagine this from a man crucified as a zealot?

As a consequence of passages like these, “Jesus” is inconsistent. The historian needs to examine the important details of ancient biographies such as the Gospels, put them in context, and consider the author’s credibility and intent. Only then can we have an educated guess as to what may be fact or fiction. I think I’ve done that.

Yeshua’s political ambitions, or lack thereof, is a topic strongly debated. Some think he was a Pharisee (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFt7NqhoxE4). Some deny he was an Essene, others say he was a pacifist Essene. Some claim Yeshua was an apocalyptic messiah on a suicide mission. I haven’t discussed these possibilities, as I think they’re less likely. If we consider the bare facts of his life; that he was a poor Galilean peasant who led a band of Jewish men around Galilee, that he was hailed as a king, and then arrested and crucified in Jerusalem, the question must be asked why more historians in the past haven’t realized that he was a political insurgent.

I have no foolproof argument to contradict the growing number of scholars who claim that Jesus never existed, because there are no known contemporary sources to vouch for him outside the Gospels, so I grant they may be right.

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwUZOZN-9dc). In one sense it’s a mute point, because the miracle-working preacher depicted in parts of the Gospels is most definitely not a description of a real person.

No one knows the whole truth about what happened two thousand years ago. Yet surely my analysis draws on what we know of secular history and is more real than the confusing story people are told in church. One doesn’t need to have spent a lifetime studying the bible or Judaism to realize it rings true. One must either be a diehard Christian, or deliberately dishonest, to reject outright the account I’ve just given.
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30-07-2016, 05:30 PM (This post was last modified: 30-07-2016 06:26 PM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
(30-07-2016 10:55 AM)GoingUp Wrote:  
(30-07-2016 12:06 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  I find this highly unlikely for the following reasons...

The Bible’s first mention of Paul is in Acts, where he is depicted as a devout Pharisee. Paul is portrayed as a bitter persecutor of Jesus’ followers in Jerusalem. This persecution was unlikely. Jesus’ original followers, the Nazarenes, were Jews, not Christians. Pharisees commonly argued with other Jews over the interpretation of Scripture, yet they did not physically attack those with different opinions.

Both Acts and Paul's letters both allude to and explicitly tell us he was persecuting the followers of Jesus.

Quote:There is no historical record of overt antagonism between Pharisees and Nazarenes in the 50’s and 60’s. In Acts, the author even relates an incident in which Peter (a disciple of Jesus) was saved by a speech from Gamaliel, the leader of the Pharisees, from being sentenced to death by the Sadducees (Acts 5:37.) You do not save someone from persecution if you are persecuting him!

Are you again using the bible for your history? If so, then this same Book of Acts also shows the Pharisee attacking other Jews, such as the Nazarene.

In fact, Josephus' Antiquities of the Jews shows a constant infighting between Jews- not only of the different sects- but also within the same sects. It is rife with stories of betrayal, murder, and persecution, so I have no idea where you are getting the impression that Jewish sects didn't persecute or even murder one another.

Quote:If there was any conflict, it was between the Sadducees (the high priests) and the Nazarenes. The high priest occasionally physically persecuted the Nazarenes - Yeshua’s death is one example, and James’ (Jesus’ brother) murder under the orders of the high priest in 62 CE is another.

And here you just agreed that there was persecution between the sects, so not sure what you are trying to say about it being unlikely.

Quote:If Paul did, in fact, attack Yeshua’s followers, it would have been under the direction of the Sadducees, who were allied to the Roman establishment.

Nope, Paul was a Pharisee. He did it as a Pharisee.

"Both Acts and Paul's letters both allude to and explicitly tell us he was persecuting the followers of Jesus"

Yes. Yet it really doesn't quite ring true. Why would Paul, a Pharisee, be persecuting the Nazarenes? Jews didn't really do this to each other, even 2000 years ago. It's a bit like Jehovah witnesses and Catholics today, they might dislike each other, but they don't go around killing each other as a rule.

I think the author of Acts made a big deal out of the antagonism between Paul and the Nazarenes because there was a lot of angst between them, and the author could make out but that was before Paul saw the light and became a Jesus fan.
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30-07-2016, 05:37 PM
RE: Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
(30-07-2016 10:55 AM)GoingUp Wrote:  
(30-07-2016 12:06 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  I find this highly unlikely for the following reasons...

The Bible’s first mention of Paul is in Acts, where he is depicted as a devout Pharisee. Paul is portrayed as a bitter persecutor of Jesus’ followers in Jerusalem. This persecution was unlikely. Jesus’ original followers, the Nazarenes, were Jews, not Christians. Pharisees commonly argued with other Jews over the interpretation of Scripture, yet they did not physically attack those with different opinions.

Both Acts and Paul's letters both allude to and explicitly tell us he was persecuting the followers of Jesus.

Quote:There is no historical record of overt antagonism between Pharisees and Nazarenes in the 50’s and 60’s. In Acts, the author even relates an incident in which Peter (a disciple of Jesus) was saved by a speech from Gamaliel, the leader of the Pharisees, from being sentenced to death by the Sadducees (Acts 5:37.) You do not save someone from persecution if you are persecuting him!

Are you again using the bible for your history? If so, then this same Book of Acts also shows the Pharisee attacking other Jews, such as the Nazarene.

In fact, Josephus' Antiquities of the Jews shows a constant infighting between Jews- not only of the different sects- but also within the same sects. It is rife with stories of betrayal, murder, and persecution, so I have no idea where you are getting the impression that Jewish sects didn't persecute or even murder one another.

Quote:If there was any conflict, it was between the Sadducees (the high priests) and the Nazarenes. The high priest occasionally physically persecuted the Nazarenes - Yeshua’s death is one example, and James’ (Jesus’ brother) murder under the orders of the high priest in 62 CE is another.

And here you just agreed that there was persecution between the sects, so not sure what you are trying to say about it being unlikely.

Quote:If Paul did, in fact, attack Yeshua’s followers, it would have been under the direction of the Sadducees, who were allied to the Roman establishment.

Nope, Paul was a Pharisee. He did it as a Pharisee.

"And here you just agreed that there was persecution between the sects, so not sure what you are trying to say about it being unlikely."

This was different. The Sadducees were aligned with Rome. They did not attack James because he was a Nazarene, or an Essene, but most likely because he was undermining their role, just as Jeebus had tried to do, 30 years or so earlier. Don't forget he lived under the noses of the chief priests for maybe 30 years in Jerusalem. One of the chief priests had a rush of blood to the head and got rid of James... He did this while the Romans were out of town... He was then removed from his position by the Romans.

I understand this is complicated, but it really helps to know who was aligned with whom.
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30-07-2016, 05:43 PM
RE: Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
(30-07-2016 09:28 AM)GoingUp Wrote:  Using this approach we see what they believed to be true, and we also see what they knew to be true.

Consider

Okay. Just to be sure, I never believed. Atheist all my life.

With what you say in the above post, which I edited for space, you say you speak from their position, that they believed. Fine, they believed. This does not make them correct.

I recall reading in Livy a report in the senate that a baby had been born with an elephant's head? Can't remember clearly. Obviously it was a deformed infant. If they believed it enough to report it in the senate, they must have held some belief. Doesn't make it true though.

Thanks for understanding. My mind is not what it once was. By a long shot.

Cheers. D.

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I will call him a liar and a dog here and now.
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30-07-2016, 05:46 PM
RE: Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
(30-07-2016 11:16 AM)GoingUp Wrote:  
Quote:I wonder why you think the Nazarenes were intimidated by Paul? Paul had no power in his own time. He was a legend in his own lunchbox, and I'm sure he could rant on, but he commanded no men, and had no legitimate authority, a fact that seems to have been glaringly obvious to any Jews who had anything to do with him.

Why would the very people who were the family and disciples of Jesus be intimidated by a pro Roman half Jew rabbiting on about a Christ? They knew that Paul had never met Jesus and therefore could not be an authority on him.

PS Or do you think Paul was in league with the Sadducees and thereby could throw some weight around?

If we accept the depiction in Acts and his letters of Paul's persecution of the followers of Jesus as being accurate, then the Nazarene sect would have every reason to be wary of Paul's supposed conversion. He could be a spy, trying to gain their trust for example.

I think Paul was simply caught up in the persecution of the followers of Jesus, and took it upon himself to persecute them just like many other Pharisee did. He was nothing special or different than any other Pharisee in this respect.

Quote:I sort of agree with this. I suspect there were many "Pauls," all agents of the Roman government, and this was how Christianity was born. It just happens that Paul's writings survived. And, yes, I have no proof of this "many Pauls" hypothesis...I am just having an educated guess.

You may actually have proof. After all, we do have some letters that may not be genuine to Saul of Tarsus, and we also have many other writings exterior to the bible that are attributed to him, but we know it wasn't him.

Have you thought about looking at it from that angle? Not that I believe it, but still, it's in evidence that can allude to the possibility.

Quote:Oops! Did you really mean to write this?

Yes, absolutely.

Quote:You sound very confident that there was a Jesus. Please explain why ( you can leave out the Tacitus bit...I've read that already). Bear in mind that I think there was a Jesus too, but I'm less confident than you.

Because nothing else explains the available evidence better than historicity.

The evidence does not go away when anyone proclaims "complete myth." After all the screaming and shouting is done, the evidence still remains.

It doesn't disappear when someone writes of a parallel Jesus/Yeshua story, such as you did. We have seen this before from Doherty, and others. None are taken seriously. No offense, but it's true.

The evidence remains without adequate refute, and in most cases, without any reasonable refutation whatsoever. Making claims of interpolation against all the evidence borders upon insanity, and reeks of desperation. It simply looks so ridiculous as to elicit laughter in the scholarly community. It really does.

I think Paul was simply caught up in the persecution of the followers of Jesus, and took it upon himself to persecute them just like many other Pharisee did.

I think you're placing too much credence on the book of Acts, which makes out that the Nazarenes (incorrectly referred to as Christians) were under constant persecution. The historical reality is that they weren't... they lived and flourished in Jerusalem and they weren't persecuted, right up until the time of the first war. (The exception is James, who, 30 years down the track, lost his life when the Roman Governor was absent in 62 CE)
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