Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
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12-08-2016, 11:09 PM (This post was last modified: 13-08-2016 12:40 AM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
(12-08-2016 10:16 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  
(12-08-2016 09:49 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  
How can you use the same sources to claim your Yeshua probably existed without considering as equally plausible that my concept of Jesus probably existed?


I'm not sure what your concept of Jesus is.

I know you have written...

"Jewish followers of Christ included the Nazarene"

by which I presume you meant "the Nazarenes." I have to disagree with you there. The Nazarenes were never Christians in any sense of the word. I don't think they would've ever referred to Yeshua as "Christ."

"The title of Christian was the evolution of faith in Christ as it traversed from Jew to Gentile."

I can't agree with you here either. The Jews never had "faith in Christ"

"...it was a title applied to Gentile followers of Christ, and not to Jewish followers of Christ."

Now you are on the money. The people who wrote about Christ may have tried to entice Jews into their belief system, but it never worked. The whole spiel was only ever swallowed by Gentiles.

So...perhaps you had better explain what your concept of Jesus is, as I suspect you and I have serious disagreements on who the real person ( why don't we call him Yeshua?) really was.

My entire point here was to demonstrate to you that because you are using the exact same sources as I use, then the distinction between your basic concept of Yeshua and the historical view of Jesus is virtually non existent.

However, the problem with your position is that you really don't know anything about your concept of Yeshua outside the common sources we both use. To establish historicity with your concept as being "probable" you are required to use exactly the same sources that historians use to establish their historicity of Jesus.

Now let's take this a step further. I quote you twice below:

"I can't agree with you here either. The Jews never had "faith in Christ"

"by which I presume you meant "the Nazarenes." I have to disagree with you there. "
"

I will reply to this with a quote from James:

Jas 1:1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes in the Dispersion, greeting:

Jas_2:1 My brothers, do not have the faith of our Lord Christ, the Lord of glory, with respecter of faces.

Now before you think "interpolation," consider the following:

Saint Hegesippus circa CE 150 is quoted as saying:

"They came, therefore, in a body to James, and said: "We entreat thee, restrain the people: for they have gone astray in their opinions about Jesus, as if he were the Christ. We entreat thee to persuade all who have come hither for the day of the passover, concerning Jesus. For we all listen to thy persuasion; since we, as well as all the people, bear thee testimony that thou art just, and showest partiality to none. Do thou, therefore, persuade the people not to entertain erroneous opinions concerning Jesus: for all the people, and we also, listen to thy persuasion. Take thy stand, then, upon the summit of the temple, that from that elevated spot thou mayest be clearly seen, and thy words may be plainly audible to all the people. For, in order to attend the passover, all the tribes have congregated hither, and some of the Gentiles also."[75]

To the scribes' and Pharisees' dismay, James boldly testified that "Christ himself sitteth in heaven, at the right hand of the Great Power, and shall come on the clouds of heaven". The scribes and pharisees then said to themselves, "We have not done well in procuring this testimony to Jesus. But let us go up and throw him down, that they may be afraid, and not believe him."

Accordingly, the scribes and Pharisees

... threw down the just man... [and] began to stone him: for he was not killed by the fall; but he turned, and kneeled down, and said: "I beseech thee, Lord God our Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."

And, while they were there, stoning him to death, one of the priests, the sons of Rechab, the son of Rechabim, to whom testimony is borne by Jeremiah the prophet, began to cry aloud, saying: “Cease, what do ye? The just man is praying for us." But one among them, one of the fullers, took the staff with which he was accustomed to wring out the garments he dyed, and hurled it at the head of the just man.

And so he suffered martyrdom; and they buried him on the spot, and the pillar erected to his memory still remains, close by the temple. This man was a true witness to both Jews and Greeks that Jesus is the Christ.
— Fragments from the Acts of the Church; Concerning the Martyrdom of James, the Brother of the Lord, from Book 5.[75]"


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James,_brother_of_Jesus

All available historical sources indicate that James did consider his brother Jesus to be the Messiah/Christ.

What are your thoughts on this?

Congratulations on posting some evidence, particularly without spitting abuse at others. Keep it up please!

Yes, there are two lines in James' letter which mention the "Lord Jesus Christ." I'll grant you that.

I think they are (small) interpolations. Here is my reasoning.

The author was, supposedly, the brother of the Christ. The brother of the son of God, the one who had risen from the dead. This Jesus Christ who had been a fabulous preacher, and who had, by some accounts, performed numerous miracles. James had allegedly grown up with the main man at the centre of the universe. Yet what does James say about his famous brothers exploits? Nothing! Just two miserable little phrases.

If I thought my brother was God and I thought he had risen from the dead, or even if I just thought he was just a fabulous preacher spouting something new and different, I would make a big deal of it. James doesn't because Yeshua wasn't.

James was a pious Jew. He is adamantly opposed to Paul and Paul's doctrine...ie proto Christianity. This much is obvious from his letter. James derides the "faith " idea... he's a "works" man, not a faith man. He respects every minute detail of "the Law." He writes to those who worship in a synagogue, not a church. What this means is that he's Jewish through and through... not a Christian.

That is why I think the "Lord Jesus Christ" phrases don't fit with the other 99% of the letter. They are interpolations.
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12-08-2016, 11:30 PM (This post was last modified: 12-08-2016 11:38 PM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
(12-08-2016 10:16 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  
(12-08-2016 09:49 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  
How can you use the same sources to claim your Yeshua probably existed without considering as equally plausible that my concept of Jesus probably existed?


I'm not sure what your concept of Jesus is.

I know you have written...

"Jewish followers of Christ included the Nazarene"

by which I presume you meant "the Nazarenes." I have to disagree with you there. The Nazarenes were never Christians in any sense of the word. I don't think they would've ever referred to Yeshua as "Christ."

"The title of Christian was the evolution of faith in Christ as it traversed from Jew to Gentile."

I can't agree with you here either. The Jews never had "faith in Christ"

"...it was a title applied to Gentile followers of Christ, and not to Jewish followers of Christ."

Now you are on the money. The people who wrote about Christ may have tried to entice Jews into their belief system, but it never worked. The whole spiel was only ever swallowed by Gentiles.

So...perhaps you had better explain what your concept of Jesus is, as I suspect you and I have serious disagreements on who the real person ( why don't we call him Yeshua?) really was.

My entire point here was to demonstrate to you that because you are using the exact same sources as I use, then the distinction between your basic concept of Yeshua and the historical view of Jesus is virtually non existent.

However, the problem with your position is that you really don't know anything about your concept of Yeshua outside the common sources we both use. To establish historicity with your concept as being "probable" you are required to use exactly the same sources that historians use to establish their historicity of Jesus.

Now let's take this a step further. I quote you twice below:

"I can't agree with you here either. The Jews never had "faith in Christ"

"by which I presume you meant "the Nazarenes." I have to disagree with you there. "
"

I will reply to this with a quote from James:

Jas 1:1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes in the Dispersion, greeting:

Jas_2:1 My brothers, do not have the faith of our Lord Christ, the Lord of glory, with respecter of faces.

Now before you think "interpolation," consider the following:

Saint Hegesippus circa CE 150 is quoted as saying:

"They came, therefore, in a body to James, and said: "We entreat thee, restrain the people: for they have gone astray in their opinions about Jesus, as if he were the Christ. We entreat thee to persuade all who have come hither for the day of the passover, concerning Jesus. For we all listen to thy persuasion; since we, as well as all the people, bear thee testimony that thou art just, and showest partiality to none. Do thou, therefore, persuade the people not to entertain erroneous opinions concerning Jesus: for all the people, and we also, listen to thy persuasion. Take thy stand, then, upon the summit of the temple, that from that elevated spot thou mayest be clearly seen, and thy words may be plainly audible to all the people. For, in order to attend the passover, all the tribes have congregated hither, and some of the Gentiles also."[75]

To the scribes' and Pharisees' dismay, James boldly testified that "Christ himself sitteth in heaven, at the right hand of the Great Power, and shall come on the clouds of heaven". The scribes and pharisees then said to themselves, "We have not done well in procuring this testimony to Jesus. But let us go up and throw him down, that they may be afraid, and not believe him."

Accordingly, the scribes and Pharisees

... threw down the just man... [and] began to stone him: for he was not killed by the fall; but he turned, and kneeled down, and said: "I beseech thee, Lord God our Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."

And, while they were there, stoning him to death, one of the priests, the sons of Rechab, the son of Rechabim, to whom testimony is borne by Jeremiah the prophet, began to cry aloud, saying: “Cease, what do ye? The just man is praying for us." But one among them, one of the fullers, took the staff with which he was accustomed to wring out the garments he dyed, and hurled it at the head of the just man.

And so he suffered martyrdom; and they buried him on the spot, and the pillar erected to his memory still remains, close by the temple. This man was a true witness to both Jews and Greeks that Jesus is the Christ.
— Fragments from the Acts of the Church; Concerning the Martyrdom of James, the Brother of the Lord, from Book 5.[75]"


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James,_brother_of_Jesus

All available historical sources indicate that James did consider his brother Jesus to be the Messiah/Christ.

What are your thoughts on this?

Thanks for your comments. I would trust Flavius Josephus' commentary (minus the proven interpolations) on James' death, written in the 90's, over a pro Christian commentator like Saint Hegesippus, writing circa CE 150. In fact we know that many of the Church Fathers used Josephus' histories as sources, so Hegesippus may have read about James here...

James’ Death

Flavius Josephus did document James’ demise:

“The younger Ananus, who had been appointed to the high priesthood, was rash in his temper and unusually daring. He followed the school of the Sadducees, who are indeed more heartless than any of the other Jews, as I have already explained, when they sit in judgment. Possessed of such a character, Ananus thought that he had a favorable opportunity because Festus was dead and Albinas was still on the way. And so he convened the judges of the Sanhedrin, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, the one called Christ, whose name was James, and certain others, and accusing them of having transgressed the law delivered them up to be stoned. Those of the inhabitants of the city who were considered the most fair-minded and who were strict in observance of the law were offended at this. They therefore secretly sent to King Agrippa urging him, for Ananus had not even been correct in his first step, to order him to desist from any further such actions. Certain of them even went to meet Albinus, who was on his way from Alexandria, and informed him that Ananus had no authority to convene the Sanhedrin without his consent. Convinced by these words, Albinus angrily wrote to Ananus threatening to take vengeance upon him. King Agrippa, because of Ananus’ action, deposed him from the high priesthood which he had held for three months and replaced him with Jesus the son of Damnaeus.” (Antiquities of the Jews, chapter 29.)

An out-of-line Ananus, the high priest who’d been given the job only three months earlier, had James executed. James had been a threat to the Sadducees, just as Jesus had been, and it sounds like the impulsive, inexperienced Ananus took advantage of a temporary absence of Roman supervision to get rid of him.

James became the third Nazarene leader to be murdered. His death perturbed people, because for nearly 30 years he’d been capable, popular and well respected. (http://jamestabor.com/2012/07/07/ebionit...of-jesus/, http://www.wnae.org/whatisnazarene.htm). When the new Roman governor came to Jerusalem, the Pharisees complained about James’ death. His number one priority was to keep the peace, so he removed Ananus from his post.

The Nazarene elders chose Shimon ben Clopha, probably Yeshua’s cousin, as a replacement for James.

It is interesting to read what H wrote elsewhere about James...

Saint Jerome, a prolific commentator and translator of early Christian material, quoted from Hegesippus’ account of James from the fifth book of his lost “Commentaries:”

“After the apostles, James the brother of the Lord surnamed the Just was made head of the Church at Jerusalem. Many indeed are called James. This one was holy from his mother’s womb. He drank neither wine nor strong drink, ate no flesh, never shaved or anointed himself with ointment or bathed. He alone had the privilege of entering the Holy of Holies, since indeed he did not use woolen vestments but linen and went alone into the temple and prayed in behalf of the people, insomuch that his knees were reputed to have acquired the hardness of camels’ knees.” (De Viris Illustribi.)

The “Holy of Holies” was a term referring to the inner sanctuary of the temple in Jerusalem. Since it was unlawful for anyone but the high priest of the temple to enter it, and then only once a year, this suggests James was considered a de facto high priest. The official high priest at the time had been chosen by Rome, and the Nazarenes considered him illegitimate.
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13-08-2016, 12:16 AM (This post was last modified: 13-08-2016 02:30 AM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
(12-08-2016 11:30 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  
(12-08-2016 10:16 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  My entire point here was to demonstrate to you that because you are using the exact same sources as I use, then the distinction between your basic concept of Yeshua and the historical view of Jesus is virtually non existent.

However, the problem with your position is that you really don't know anything about your concept of Yeshua outside the common sources we both use. To establish historicity with your concept as being "probable" you are required to use exactly the same sources that historians use to establish their historicity of Jesus.

Now let's take this a step further. I quote you twice below:

"I can't agree with you here either. The Jews never had "faith in Christ"

"by which I presume you meant "the Nazarenes." I have to disagree with you there. "
"

I will reply to this with a quote from James:

Jas 1:1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes in the Dispersion, greeting:

Jas_2:1 My brothers, do not have the faith of our Lord Christ, the Lord of glory, with respecter of faces.

Now before you think "interpolation," consider the following:

Saint Hegesippus circa CE 150 is quoted as saying:

"They came, therefore, in a body to James, and said: "We entreat thee, restrain the people: for they have gone astray in their opinions about Jesus, as if he were the Christ. We entreat thee to persuade all who have come hither for the day of the passover, concerning Jesus. For we all listen to thy persuasion; since we, as well as all the people, bear thee testimony that thou art just, and showest partiality to none. Do thou, therefore, persuade the people not to entertain erroneous opinions concerning Jesus: for all the people, and we also, listen to thy persuasion. Take thy stand, then, upon the summit of the temple, that from that elevated spot thou mayest be clearly seen, and thy words may be plainly audible to all the people. For, in order to attend the passover, all the tribes have congregated hither, and some of the Gentiles also."[75]

To the scribes' and Pharisees' dismay, James boldly testified that "Christ himself sitteth in heaven, at the right hand of the Great Power, and shall come on the clouds of heaven". The scribes and pharisees then said to themselves, "We have not done well in procuring this testimony to Jesus. But let us go up and throw him down, that they may be afraid, and not believe him."

Accordingly, the scribes and Pharisees

... threw down the just man... [and] began to stone him: for he was not killed by the fall; but he turned, and kneeled down, and said: "I beseech thee, Lord God our Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."

And, while they were there, stoning him to death, one of the priests, the sons of Rechab, the son of Rechabim, to whom testimony is borne by Jeremiah the prophet, began to cry aloud, saying: “Cease, what do ye? The just man is praying for us." But one among them, one of the fullers, took the staff with which he was accustomed to wring out the garments he dyed, and hurled it at the head of the just man.

And so he suffered martyrdom; and they buried him on the spot, and the pillar erected to his memory still remains, close by the temple. This man was a true witness to both Jews and Greeks that Jesus is the Christ.
— Fragments from the Acts of the Church; Concerning the Martyrdom of James, the Brother of the Lord, from Book 5.[75]"


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James,_brother_of_Jesus

All available historical sources indicate that James did consider his brother Jesus to be the Messiah/Christ.

What are your thoughts on this?

Thanks for your comments. I would trust Flavius Josephus' commentary (minus the proven interpolations) on James' death, written in the 90's, over a pro Christian commentator like Saint Hegesippus, writing circa CE 150. In fact we know that many of the Church Fathers used Josephus' histories as sources, so Hegesippus may have read about James here...

James’ Death

Flavius Josephus did document James’ demise:

“The younger Ananus, who had been appointed to the high priesthood, was rash in his temper and unusually daring. He followed the school of the Sadducees, who are indeed more heartless than any of the other Jews, as I have already explained, when they sit in judgment. Possessed of such a character, Ananus thought that he had a favorable opportunity because Festus was dead and Albinas was still on the way. And so he convened the judges of the Sanhedrin, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, the one called Christ, whose name was James, and certain others, and accusing them of having transgressed the law delivered them up to be stoned. Those of the inhabitants of the city who were considered the most fair-minded and who were strict in observance of the law were offended at this. They therefore secretly sent to King Agrippa urging him, for Ananus had not even been correct in his first step, to order him to desist from any further such actions. Certain of them even went to meet Albinus, who was on his way from Alexandria, and informed him that Ananus had no authority to convene the Sanhedrin without his consent. Convinced by these words, Albinus angrily wrote to Ananus threatening to take vengeance upon him. King Agrippa, because of Ananus’ action, deposed him from the high priesthood which he had held for three months and replaced him with Jesus the son of Damnaeus.” (Antiquities of the Jews, chapter 29.)

An out-of-line Ananus, the high priest who’d been given the job only three months earlier, had James executed. James had been a threat to the Sadducees, just as Jesus had been, and it sounds like the impulsive, inexperienced Ananus took advantage of a temporary absence of Roman supervision to get rid of him.

James became the third Nazarene leader to be murdered. His death perturbed people, because for nearly 30 years he’d been capable, popular and well respected. (http://jamestabor.com/2012/07/07/ebionit...of-jesus/, http://www.wnae.org/whatisnazarene.htm). When the new Roman governor came to Jerusalem, the Pharisees complained about James’ death. His number one priority was to keep the peace, so he removed Ananus from his post.

The Nazarene elders chose Shimon ben Clopha, probably Yeshua’s cousin, as a replacement for James.

It is interesting to read what H wrote elsewhere about James...

Saint Jerome, a prolific commentator and translator of early Christian material, quoted from Hegesippus’ account of James from the fifth book of his lost “Commentaries:”

“After the apostles, James the brother of the Lord surnamed the Just was made head of the Church at Jerusalem. Many indeed are called James. This one was holy from his mother’s womb. He drank neither wine nor strong drink, ate no flesh, never shaved or anointed himself with ointment or bathed. He alone had the privilege of entering the Holy of Holies, since indeed he did not use woolen vestments but linen and went alone into the temple and prayed in behalf of the people, insomuch that his knees were reputed to have acquired the hardness of camels’ knees.” (De Viris Illustribi.)

The “Holy of Holies” was a term referring to the inner sanctuary of the temple in Jerusalem. Since it was unlawful for anyone but the high priest of the temple to enter it, and then only once a year, this suggests James was considered a de facto high priest. The official high priest at the time had been chosen by Rome, and the Nazarenes considered him illegitimate.

However, the problem with your position is that you really don't know anything about your concept of Yeshua outside the common sources we both use.


Ah...no. I think that is precisely the problem with your position. LOL

The following will prove how wrong you are...I have done a lot of research. I know you don't like reading long passages from me, but just maybe you might learn something...

Yeshua’s Infancy

Matthew’s Gospel states that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, a small town in southern Judea, just outside Jerusalem - yet each of the Gospels claim he grew up in Galilee, which was a three day walk from Bethlehem. Why the different locations? Matthew’s was the first Gospel to give Jesus a birth story, and he was trying to make it seem to fulfill an Old Testament prophecy. Micah 5:2 reads:
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” (NIV.) “Bethlehem Ephrathah” clearly referred to a clan of people. Matthew changed this reference to a clan into a tale about a town. He wrote:
“And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the leaders of Judah, for out of you will come a leader who will shepherd my people Israel” (Matt. 2:6, NJB.) This throws serious doubt on the Bethlehem birth scenario.

The year of Yeshua’s birth is uncertain. Matthew made out he was born in King Herod the Great’s time (he died in 4 BCE.) Yet Luke alleged he was born at the time of a census:
“And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David) to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:1–7, KJV.)
The date of the only known contemporary census was c. 6–7 CE, and to hold a census was hardly a common occurrence. That makes the date of Jesus’ birth about 10 years later than Herod the Great’s death. A ten-year difference (between Matthew and Luke) is a serious discrepancy. One or both of the authors were mistaken, or were fabricating, as the two tales are irreconcilable.

The Gospels do agree that Jesus’ mother’s name was Mary. She was just a girl, very likely only fourteen to seventeen years old, as Jewish girls were nearly always married at this age (http://www.theology.edu/marriage.htm). She was probably from Galilee, in northern Judea, (http://www.goodnews.ie/palestiemap.shtml) and Jesus was her first child. Mary was betrothed to a Jewish man, Joseph, and they had a problem. Mary was pregnant and they weren’t yet married.

Neither Matthew nor Luke judged Joseph to be Jesus’ biological father, as they made out Mary was impregnated by a Holy Ghost. The other two Gospel authors didn’t discuss who the dad was, a remarkable omission if Mary had admitted a ghost did the deed, which she must have done, if Mark and John weren’t making up the story.

According to Luke, Mary moved from her hometown for three months to be with her relatives, Elizabeth and Zechariah. This could have been to evade the embarrassment and danger (it was against the Jewish law) of being discovered pregnant out of wedlock. Matthew claimed Elizabeth was pregnant too, soon to give birth to John, Jesus’ cousin.

After Jesus’ birth, Matthew wrote that Mary, Joseph and the child fled to Egypt to avoid a paranoid King Herod.
“And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.” (Matt. 2:13–15, KJV.) Matthew was trying to fit Jesus into an Old Testament verse from Hosea that stated,
“When Israel was a child, I loved him, and I called my son out of Egypt” (Hosea 11:1, NJB.) Hosea wasn’t making a prophecy or prediction; he was referring to the Jewish people (Israel) having left Egypt some centuries beforehand. Matthew was trying to fit Jesus into a non-existent prophecy.

Matthew then told of Herod’s murder of innocent children:
“Herod was furious when he realized that he had been outwitted by the wise men, and in Bethlehem and its surrounding district he had all the male children killed who were two years old or under, reckoning by the date he had been careful to ask the wise men. It was then that the words spoken through the prophet Jeremiah were fulfilled: A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loudly lamenting: it was Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted because they were no more” (Matt. 2:16–18, NJB.) Yet Jeremiah was clearly referring to the sixth century BCE Babylonian captivity, so was discussing an event that had already occurred (the kidnap of Rachel’s children by the Babylonians):
“Thus speaks Yahweh: A voice is heard in Ramah, lamenting and weeping bitterly: It is Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted for her children, because they are no more.” (Jer. 31:15, NJB.)

There’s no secular record of Herod slaughtering Jewish children. (http://www.answering-christianity.com/ab...ls-3.htm). His primary role under the Romans was to keep the peace in Judea, not wreak havoc. Matthew was trying to make baby Jesus fulfill another non-existent prophecy and impress Jewish readers by giving Jesus an infancy story similar to that of Moses.

Matthew wrote that the family then turned to Galilee, and dwelt “in a city called Nazareth.” Luke wrote that after Jesus’ birth, the baby was taken to Jerusalem, and presented in the temple, and then they returned to Galilee, to “their own city, Nazareth.”

Yeshua’s Early Life

The Nazareth part of the story is probably untrue, as there’s little evidence outside Christian literature that a city called Nazareth existed in the first century. Today’s Nazareth was probably only first named as such in the third or fourth century, and there is little good archaeological evidence the place was a town before that (http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/nazareth.html, http://www.nazarethmyth.info).

Richard Carrier, a well respected scholar, disagrees in the sense that he thinks Nazareth may have existed in the first century, but doesn’t think Jesus, if he existed, grew up there. (http://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/arch...pmp_tp=1). So Yeshua may have grown up in one of many small Jewish villages that dotted the countryside in Galilee, but it almost certainly wasn’t today’s Nazareth.

Agriculture, building and fishing on the Sea of Galilee were the main industries of note. Ninety percent of Galilean Jews lived a subsistence existence, working as peasant farmers, producing just enough food to feed their families. They may have supplemented their income by working as laborers when cities were being built.
Yeshua and his family were probably peasants who lived in houses made of stone, mud, and straw. Any furniture they may have had was very basic. Family groups lived closely huddled together in little villages. They would have had chickens, goats, sheep, and perhaps cattle. Some of the men may have worked as laborers building houses for the richer people. Communal gravesites that date from the era show skeletons with evidence of nutritional deficiencies, and that sixty percent of those buried had died before they reached puberty. Life was obviously a struggle in ancient Galilee.

Yeshua’s Brothers and Sisters

It’s clearly documented in the bible that Yeshua had four brothers and at least two sisters. Mark’s Gospel named the boys:
“Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” (Mark 6:3, KJV.)

Matthew wrote the same:
“Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us?” (Matt. 13:55–56, KJV.) These brothers all had very patriotic Jewish names.

Many commentators claim one of his sisters was named Salome, (although she wasn’t specifically named as a sister)
“There were also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome” (Mark 15:40, KJV.)
“And when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him” (Mark 16:1, KJV.) The other sister’s name wasn’t mentioned.

Luke and John also mentioned that Jesus had brothers and sisters, but didn’t allow them their Jewish names.

Paul, the man accredited with writing nearly one third of the New Testament, wrote of James as the Lord’s brother:
“But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother” (Gal. 1:19, KJV.)

The book of Acts stated:
“And when they had entered, they went up into the upper room where they were staying: Peter, James, John, and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot; and Judas the son of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers” (Acts 1:13–14, KJV.)
All these authors undermined the importance of Jesus’ siblings by not discussing them in any depth, so it’s unlikely they fabricated the fact of their existence.

Why, then, don’t we hear more about Yeshua’s brothers and sisters? One reason is that people have been told to believe Mary died a virgin, and virgins don’t have seven children. To counter the biblical sibling story one Catholic position is that
“James, Joseph, and Jude are undoubtedly His cousins… But whether they were cousins on their father’s or mother’s side, whether cousins by blood or merely by marriage, cannot be determined with certainty” (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02767a.htm). The reasoning used to arrive at this “cousin conclusion” is very convoluted, contrived, and relies on reinterpreting some straightforward passages in the bible. The reader might wonder whether it’s logical to claim these three were “undoubtedly” Jesus’ cousins, yet then admit to not knowing how they were related to him? Elsewhere in the Catholic Encyclopedia it’s adamantly asserted that James was Jesus’ brother:

“Internal evidence (contents of the Epistle, its style, address, date, and place of composition) points unmistakably to James, the Lord’s brother, the Bishop of Jerusalem, as the author; he exactly, and he alone, fulfills the conditions required in the writer of the Epistle.” (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08275b.htm). Some Catholic historians have obviously failed to reach a consensus concerning James’ relationship to Jesus.

Yeshua belonged to a patriotic Jewish family, a fact most of the New Testament’s authors, writing mainly for a Gentile audience, preferred not to advertise. I think Jesus had to be distanced from his Jewish family and roots, as the connection compromised his status as the god-savior of all the world’s Gentiles.

Yeshua and First Century Judaism

We know a lot about the political, social and religious climate in Yeshua’s day from sources such as Josephus, Philo and the Dead Sea scrolls. Religion and politics were more closely intertwined than we usually think of them today, because political power was employed using religion. Jewish identity, both nationalistic and religious, was derived from their fanatical belief in their one and only god, who they imagined had an interest in them and actively intervened in their affairs. Their scripture handed them a history, a set of laws, and a guide to what they could expect in the future. It also propped up the power of priests. Jews were clearly separate from non-Jewish people (Gentiles or “pagans.”) The Jewish population was spread throughout all parts of Palestine, whereas Gentiles lived in the larger cities such as Caesaria, Sepphoris, Jerusalem, and Tiberias. Gentiles didn’t reside in rural villages, so Yeshua would have had very little contact with them.

The Gospels’ portray Jesus as an early-first-century Galilean rustic. Judaism, being the most important aspect of his identity, would have elevated his life above the everyday humdrum struggle for survival. He would have been circumcised, and proud to be David’s descendant. He would have eaten only kosher food, and kept holy the Sabbath, which meant that every Saturday he didn’t do business. Jews weren’t permitted to cook, clean, entertain guests, feed animals, hunt, or perform a myriad of other minor chores on the Sabbath. He would probably have partaken in the Passover celebrations, which meant an annual trip to Jerusalem. He must have imagined the land of Israel was in part his, as Yahweh had given it to the Jewish people. He would have gone to a local synagogue to talk about the Torah and the prophets’ books with his fellow Jews. He could have considered himself one of God’s chosen, superior to Gentiles. Many Jews didn’t eat with, marry or even mix with pagans if they could avoid it. He may have told his disciples:
“Do not turn your steps to pagan territory, and do not enter any Samaritan town. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel” (Matt. 10:6, NJB) and
“I was sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel” (Matt. 15:24, NJB.)

The first known documents that can be considered “Christian” were Paul’s writings, written at least fifteen plus years after Jesus died, and Paul barely talked about what Jesus said or did. Those documents defined Christian theology, yet they were unknown to Yeshua. Many of the basic beliefs of Judaism and Christianity are mutually exclusive. Christianity was a brand new religion, and it claimed that the celibate Yahweh somehow had a son who was his equal. It also attempted to undermine the importance of the Jewish Law. It’s impossible to imagine that Yeshua, a Jewish Galilean peasant, would try to invent a new doctrine such as Christianity. He no doubt discussed the substance of scripture, but wouldn’t have reinvented his basic beliefs.
It’s an undeniable fact that Yeshua was a Jew; never a Christian.

The Political Climate in Palestine
“The Jews discovered a fierce impatience of the dominion of Rome, which repeatedly broke out in the most furious massacres and insurrections…and we are tempted to applaud the severe retaliation which was exercised by the arms of the legions against a race of fanatics, whose dire and credulous superstition seemed to render them the implacable enemies not only of the Roman government, but of human kind. The enthusiasm of the Jews was supported by the opinion, that it was unlawful for them to pay taxes to an idolatrous master; and by the flattering promise which they derived from their ancient oracles, that a conquering Messiah would soon arise, destined to break their fetters, and to invest the favorites of heaven with the empire of the earth.”
(Edward Gibbon)

In 37 BCE Herod “the Great” (http://www.livius.org/he-hg/herodians/he...at01.html) laid siege to Jerusalem, the capital of the Jewish nation, with an army of Roman soldiers, and recaptured it (the Romans had been in control from 63 BCE to 40 BCE.) It took them three months, and Herod began his long reign as king of Judea. The Romans had a policy of appointing locals as leaders by choosing them from the aristocratic families of the countries they conquered, as this helped police the people. So Israel was very much a part of the Empire, and had been for almost 90 years, by the time Yeshua started preaching. It was an important province, particularly as it was en route to Egypt, as Rome was heavily reliant on Egyptian grain.

Herod wanted the people to respect him as king of the Jews, but he lacked credibility, because he wasn’t a pure Jew, as his father was an Idumean, from an area to the south of Judea, (http://www.bible-history.com/geography/a...umea.html) and what’s more, he was a Roman puppet. Herod was paranoid about threats to his rule, and thought anyone of the royal Jewish bloodline was a danger. He had the last of the genuine Jewish kings, Antigonus, executed. He married a royal Jewish princess to prop up his claim to the crown, but, fretting about a challenge to his position, had her, her brother and his own two sons by the marriage executed. The Roman emperor Augustus had good reason to state
“I had sooner be Herod’s swine than his son” (Cecil Roth, A Short History of the Jewish People, 92.)

Herod tried to increase his prestige by undertaking massive building projects. He remodeled the temple in Jerusalem, employing ten thousand workers, and spared no expense. It was twice as large as today’s St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, and was truly magnificent to behold, boasting Corinthian columns, white marble, and plates of gold. It was the nucleus of the nation, and became famous throughout the empire, and all Jerusalem lived in its shadow. Herod also constructed the city port of Caesaria, overlooking the Mediterranean. It had an artificial harbor and an amphitheater that held an audience of twenty thousand.

All his architectural projects were Hellenistic in design, which upset many Jews. They were also put out when he placed a golden eagle, the emblem of Roman rule, over the great gate of the temple. Many common Jews despised Herod. A real king needed to be a true Jew and a descendant of David, not someone smitten with Greek culture who had been installed by Romans. Herod was dictatorial and not particularly perturbed about the plight of poor Jewish peasants. It was only by controlling the country as a police state that he averted open rebellion.

Herod Archelaus, one of his surviving sons, took over as ruler of Galilee, a northern province of Palestine, when his father died in 4 BCE. (http://www.livius.org/he-hg/herodians/he...laus.htm). He was such an inept ruler Caesar replaced him after ten years and his brother, Herod Antipas, became the ruler of the region (http://www.livius.org/he-hg/herodians/he...pas.html). This was the man who had John the Baptist beheaded, and who allegedly interrogated Jesus before the crucifixion. Like his father, he was very ambitious. He too married a princess from a royal Jewish bloodline, and continued his father’s grandiose building projects, rebuilding the city of Sepphoris, which was to become the capital of Galilee, eight kilometers from the present day Nazareth. Constructed during Yeshua’s childhood, it’s possible Yeshua and his father and brothers worked there as laborers.

The Herods had to get money for these projects, and money was also needed to support the Roman bureaucracy and army. It came from taxes paid by the already struggling peasants, and was accrued by the infamous tax collectors. Tax was one percent of a man’s income per year, and there were export and import taxes, taxes levied on crops - one tenth of the grain crop and one fifth of that from wine, fruit, and oil. There were taxes payable on the transfer of property, emergency taxes, and others. So anything from twenty to forty percent of the produce of the peasant workforce went into paying tax. A Roman official called a “censor” was responsible for reaping in the revenue, but he often sold the right to collect it to the highest bidders, men who demanded more money than was due and kept the difference for themselves. They commonly took bribes from the rich, so it was the poor people who ended up paying most of the tax, arousing deep resentment.

The Romans had changed the economic status quo in Palestine. Many of the poorer people lost land when it was incorporated into large estates of the upper classes. It was obvious to the farmers and fishermen of Galilee that the richer people, many of whom lived in the largest cities, were exploiting them.

The proud Palestinian people were infuriated that Romans appointed the high priest, their chief religious figure (http://jewishroots.net/library/miscellan...ion.html). It meant the powerful elite families reinforced Roman rule. A modern analogy would be the Catholic world today having a Pope and his cardinals appointed by an Islamic government, or Cubans choosing an American president.

Galilean peasants started skirmishes in 4 BCE, possibly the year Yeshua was born. Josephus relates that Judas, son of Ezekias, gathered together a band of bandits who broke into the royal armory at Sepphoris, and stole weapons and money. Further south at Jericho, 30 kilometers from Jerusalem, another Jew named Simon led a pack who torched the royal palace. A shepherd named Athronges raised a rabble that roamed the countryside for a few months. Soon most of Galilee was in revolt. The Roman army responded with brutal force by marching into Galilee, burning towns and villages, and crucifying anyone resisting Roman rule. Three thousand Jews were massacred. There must have been much terror and many innocent people murdered. (http://www.josephus.org/causesOfWar.htm). There’s no mention of this violence in the Gospels, yet Mary, Joseph and their families must have been involved, either as participants or observers.

Mary was a young girl vulnerable to rampaging troops. It’s possible Yeshua’s biological father was a Roman soldier. (http://jamestabor.com/2010/10/10/the-jes...ditions/).

Ten years later, in 6 CE, the Roman governor of Syria, Quirinius, undertook a census to work out who should be paying taxes to Rome. This sparked another revolt led by a Galilean, also named Judas, who many imagined was the messiah. Josephus tells the story:
“There was one Judas, a Galilean, of a city whose name was Gamala, who, taking with him Zadok, a Pharisee, became zealous to draw them to a revolt. Both said that this taxation was no better than an introduction to slavery, and exhorted the nation to assert their liberty; as if they could procure them happiness and security for what they possessed, and an assured enjoyment of a still greater good, which was that of the honor and glory they would thereby acquire for magnanimity. They also said that God would not otherwise be assisting to them, than upon their joining with one another in such councils as might be successful, and for their own advantage; and this especially, if they would set about great exploits, and not grow weary in executing the same. So men received what they said with pleasure, and this bold attempt proceeded to a great height.” (Flavius Josephus, Jewish Antiquities 18.4-6.)

The Romans gathered three legions and four regiments of cavalry, and the movement was quickly and brutally suppressed. (http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articl...galilean). Judas’ army was routed and the Romans set fire to Sepphoris. This time two thousand Jews were slaughtered. A young Yeshua may have witnessed the battle from a distance. He might have seen the surviving members of Judas’s army crucified on crosses, and a long line of Jewish widows and their children marched off to slavery in Rome. Many Jews were convinced their God would come to their aid in battles, and he may have been dismayed and disappointed that this didn’t happen.

There’s no mention of this encounter in the Gospels either, as they were written in an era when Jewish nationalism was suppressed. Readers didn’t need to know about the violence and bad feeling of the times.

Despite this decisive defeat, the rebels didn’t discard their dreams, but went underground. Judas’ descendants and others continued to oppose Roman rule for generations afterwards. Josephus named them “Sicarii,” because their favorite weapon was the Roman dagger, or sica.

Most Palestinian Jews, and particularly the poor peasants of Galilee, must have felt degraded and oppressed by Romans, who had impoverished them, and killed or sold into slavery many of their relatives and friends. They had it hard from many directions; suffering under the burdens of landlessness, poverty, taxation and sometimes violent oppression. Some Galileans resented their fellow Jews who had partially assimilated into the Greco-Roman culture. I think Yeshua was one of these disgruntled rustics.

From the Roman perspective, Palestine was an important province by virtue of its position. It was in “the middle of the crescent” of the Middle East, and shared its coastal water with Italy. It was the gateway to the East, a major stop on every trade route from as far away as China, India, Russia and the West. Galilee was considered a parochial backwater, a festering wound that had failed to become peaceful. Palestine wouldn’t have appealed as a port of call for the out posted Roman trooper. It was a hot, dusty desert filled with indignant natives.

Pontius Pilate, governor from 26 to 36 CE, was known as a “prefect” or “procurator,” and he came from the Roman equestrian class. He was subordinate to the legate (governor) of Syria at Damascus. He had about three thousand auxiliary soldiers at his disposal, mostly stationed at Caesarea, the provincial capital of Judea, located on the Mediterranean coast seventy-five miles northwest of Jerusalem. A detachment of soldiers was kept as a garrison in Jerusalem. Pilate would make the trip to Jerusalem only when necessary, such as on festive occasions like the Jewish Passover, when up to three thousand soldiers would be stationed there overlooking the temple grounds.

The Structure of Jewish Society

Jewish identity was sometimes determined by the religious sect to which one belonged.

The majority of the Jewish population was non-sectarian, but there were at least three major religious factions: Sadducees, Pharisees, and Essenes, plus some smaller outfits. First century Judaism was incredibly diverse, so it’s a mistake to slot all Jews neatly into one party or another, or to assume all affiliates of a group had exactly the same beliefs. Bearing that in mind, these groups give a good sense of the Jewish socio-political scene of the times.

Sadducees
The Sadducees were a clan of priests who were the leaders of the temple and the businesses associated with it. Rome appointed all the high priests in the New Testament from a restricted group of families who were allied to them. The “high priest” was a Sadducee at the top of the tree. One of the ways Rome micromanaged the country was by controlling him. One of their roles was to identify and deal with insurgents.

They derived their income by taxing the common people. They were mentioned in all four of the Gospels, and in Acts, and are most notably known as the “chief priests” involved in the arrest of Jesus. They were wealthy, powerful, elite, and aristocratic, and regarded themselves as spiritually and socially superior to other Jews.

The Sadducees had a strict and rigid interpretation of Jewish Law (the Torah.) They didn’t believe in a resurrection of the dead, unlike the Pharisees and the much later Christians, because an afterlife is not alluded to in the Law as allegedly logged by Moses.

Traditionally the high priest had to be a descendent of Aaron, said to be the brother of Moses, and was highly regarded by Jews. However, in Jesus’ time, the high priest wasn’t from Aaron’s family, so most common Jews regarded him as an illegitimate imposter and, what’s more, an enemy of the true Israel.

The Sadducees had a degree of control over the Sanhedrin, who were Jewish judges. They had been destroyed and then re-established under Herod the Great as a pro Roman religious council to oversee the affairs of faith and religious law. Their members came from many different groups.

Pharisees
The second important Jewish party was the Pharisees. They were a much larger and heterogeneous group, composed of lay people rather than priests. They devoted most of their energy to defining and strengthening the Torah’s basic precepts. They preached Judaism as a universal faith, and some of them were missionaries.

The Pharisees were middle class people, popular with the general populace and more integrated within the community than the Sadducees. Their interpretation of the Law was more liberal, democratic, and accommodating. Parts of the Gospels portray them as rigid, but that wasn’t the case. Although well respected, they had little real direct political power. They too thought they belonged to an inner circle that totally understood religious issues. Some of them believed in heaven, a concept that Christianity adopted.

Many Pharisees held a strong hope in the coming of the messiah, a leader who would deliver them independence. Some scanned the scriptures to predict when he would appear. Yet they weren’t suffering like the peasant classes, so rather than start a fight with Rome by choosing him from their own ranks, they waited for him to show his face.
Hillel, (discussed in chapter 15) who had many similar teachings to those attributed to Jesus, was a Pharisee, as was (probably) Saint Paul, (discussed in chapter 4) the mastermind behind Christian theology.

They were often mentioned in the New Testament. Matthew writes that Jesus acknowledged their authority but labeled them as hypocrites:

“The scribes and the Pharisees occupy the chair of Moses. You must therefore do what they tell you and listen to what they say; but do not be guided by what they do: since they do not practice what they preach” (Matt. 23:2–4, NJB.) Luke’s Gospel has Jesus on much more friendly terms with them.

The Essenes
The third important group was the Essenes. We know a fair bit about them, not only from Flavius Josephus, (http://ancienthistory.about.com/od/josep...senes.htm) who may have been an Essene, but also from Philo Judaeus of Alexandria, and from the (probably) Essene Qumran community who hid the Dead Sea Scrolls.

They were a heterogeneous group, but some generalizations can be made about them. They were well respected amongst most Jews. Josephus numbered them at about four thousand, and writes they had a strong affection for each other, and lived in groups scattered throughout Judea. They preferred to wear white and were particular about certain bathing rituals, including baptism. Most were celibate, which was quite unusual, as most Jews considered it as living an incomplete life. They rejected the pursuit of pleasure, preached poverty, humility, chastity, loving one’s neighbor, and penitence. They believed in a war between the forces of good and evil, and in the need for God’s grace. They strove to speak gently and quietly, to never swear, and were strong believers in justice and that all Jews were equal. They rejected the accumulation of wealth, and shared all their possessions. They claimed to love the truth and to never steal. Unlike the other Jewish sects, they spurned animal sacrifice. They thought of themselves as healers, to be able to cast out demons and restore the dead to life. They were said to foretell the future and to have little fear of death. They were convinced that after death their souls were destined for paradise, provided they had been righteous.

They deeply resented the Sadducees, so set up their own priesthood separate to the temple. They mistrusted most of the Pharisees, regarding them as corrupt or hypocritical.

Josephus leaves out one important fact about them; that many of them were intensely anti-Roman. We know this from the Dead Sea scrolls. Many authors have unknowingly misled modern readers by stating that Essenes were pacifists, which is true, yet once they’d decided God justified a war —a holy war—they would fight. Josephus was writing for a Roman audience, and was trying to present his countrymen in the best possible light, so this omission is understandable.

Yeshua the Essene
I think Yeshua was an Essene, for the following reasons. (http://www.askwhy.co.uk/christianity/018...sene.php). They had many beliefs in common with those credited to Jesus. Some of the sayings attributed to Jesus are also found in the Dead Sea Scrolls (yet his existence is never mentioned in them.) Jesus and his disciples pooled their funds, which were administered by a treasurer, a feature of Essene communities. Many scholars believe John the Baptist, who could have been Yeshua’s cousin, was an Essene. John baptized Yeshua, so Yeshua clearly had the same beliefs as him. (http://www.sacred-texts.com/eso/jlgi/jlgi05.htm).

The Gospel’s writers and editors didn’t mention the existence of the Essenes even once. If it was suggested or implied that Yeshua and the disciples were Essenes, it would have meant they were too fundamentally Jewish and too anti Roman. (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/...nes.html).
One minor fact that doesn’t fit is that Yeshua and his disciples allegedly ate fish, and the Essenes were strict vegetarians.

There was a particular group of Essenes known as Nazarenes. I believe John, Yeshua, his family, and his disciples were all Nazarenes. Obviously, then, they were an important group, and I will discuss them shortly.

Scribes
The scribes were mentioned often in the Gospels. They were bureaucrats, and most of them lived in Jerusalem, where they associated with the priests. They were expert in judicial procedures, helpful in the enforcement of Jewish law and custom, and even joined the governing class and served on the Sanhedrin. Because they depended on the wealthy for their training and their positions, they were loyal to the chief priests. There were also some lower-level scribes who served the villages, making contracts and documents and working as government officials.

Zealots
Zealots were practitioners of armed military resistance against the Romans. They were a militant political, rather than a religious movement, but their ideals were inspired by their religion.

Galilee was the heartland of zealotry. Judas of Galilee (not to be confused with Judas Iscariot, the disciple - who was also said to be a zealot) was an important zealot figure in 6 CE. This is part of what Josephus had to say about him.
“Judas the Galilean was the author of the fourth branch of Jewish philosophy. These men agree in all other things with the Pharisaic notions; but they have an inviolable attachment to liberty, and say that God is to be their only Ruler and Lord. They also do not value dying any kinds of death, nor indeed do they heed the deaths of their relations and friends, nor can any such fear make them call any man lord.” (http://www.livius.org/men-mh/messiah/mes...s04.html). Josephus didn’t document what happened to Judas, but the author of Acts did;

“And then there was Judas the Galilean, at the time of the census, who attracted crowds of supporters; but he got killed too and all of his followers dispersed” (Acts 5:38, NJB.) The author didn’t mention that Roman soldiers killed Judas, I think because he didn’t want readers drawing parallels with Jesus. We know from other historians that most of Judas’ followers weren’t dispersed; they were killed in battle or captured and crucified.

Zealotry was an attitude that inspired action. There wasn’t one particular group known as “zealots.” Josephus described them as a group of rebels and outsiders who were distinctly separate from all other Jews, because he wanted his Gentile readers to think that most Jews were peace-loving people who were pleased to be part of the empire. In reality, I think most Jews, particularly the poorer ones, had a degree of zealotry in their hearts, but many of them were too afraid to practice it.

Zealots had significant support from sympathizers. In 66 CE, perhaps thirty odd years after Yeshua’s death, several large groups of zealots played the leading roles in a major revolt against the Romans. The uprising occurred throughout most of Judea and included the capital, Jerusalem. The Romans responded by routing Galilee. They then laid siege to Jerusalem in 70 CE, destroyed the temple and massacred an estimated one million Jews. (http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsou...olt.html). Josephus quite rightly held zealots responsible for starting the war. Interestingly, he may have originally been a Galilean zealot who defected to the Roman side. If so, he was a traitor. He spent the rest of his life living in Rome and writing pro-Roman history.
It was during this war that Essene zealots at Qumran hid the Dead Sea Scrolls from the invading Roman army.

There are interesting similarities between the ancient zealots and the popular image of today’s al-Quada; a strong belief that they’re being oppressed by foreigners; a firm adherence to religious beliefs; a reckless disregard for personal safety; a preference for violence over peaceful negotiation; and a disregard for human life. Both groups have been willing to kill their countrymen who don’t agree with them. I’m referring to different religions in different eras, but the same self-righteous fanaticism inspired by belief.

The Nazarenes

Yeshua was a Nazarene, as stated in the bible: Acts referred to
“Jesus Christ the Nazarene” (Acts 2:22, 3:6, 4:10, 6:14, 22:8, 26:9, NJB.) Most Christians assume the term “Nazarene” referred to the fact that Jesus came from the village of Nazareth. This was, after all, what Matthew claimed, (Matt. 2:23) but Nazareth the place was probably not the real origin of the term. On (almost) every occasion that Jesus was referred to as being “of Nazareth,” the real meaning is “the Nazarene” (http://www.essene.com/What is a Nazarene.htm.) As mentioned, Nazareth the village probably didn’t exist in Yeshua’s time. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZxEJHO8KIXY). Calling him Jesus “of Nazareth” was a ploy to distract from his sectarian affiliations. The bible made it clear the term “Nazarene” referred to a sect, when in the book of Acts, Paul is accused of being a Nazarene.

“The plain truth is that we find this man a perfect pest; he stirs up trouble among Jews the world over, and is a ringleader of the Nazarene sect.” (Acts 24:5, NJB.) An important religious sect would not have been named after an obscure Galilean village.
Hugh Schonfield, who devoted his life to studying Judaism and Yeshua, claims Nazarenism was an ancient version of Judaism. (http://archive.org/search.php?query=creator%3A”Hugh J.Schonfield” AND subject%3A”Nazarenes”). He thought the original founder of the Nazarene sect may have been a Jewish-Arabian prophet named Essa in approximately 400 BCE. So, if he was right, they were already well established in Jesus’ time.

Many eminent scholars have linked the Nazarenes with the Essenian sect at Qumran. One might consider the Nazarene sect a strongly developed messianic form of “Essenism.” (http://www.essene.com/History&Essenes/TrimmNazars.htm).
John the Baptist, Yeshua’s family, disciples and followers were all Nazarenes. The “pillars” Paul refers to (James, Peter, and John) in his second letter to the Galatians, were the leaders and key figures of this group after Yeshua’s death. They too were Jews, not Christians. They practiced circumcision, believed in baptism, and were strict about the Sabbath. They were vegetarians who didn’t approve of the slaughter of animals, either for food or sacrifice. They developed their own “Halacha,” which was their interpretation of the Torah. They were true believers in the power and glory of Israel, saw themselves as God’s chosen people, and were vehemently opposed to the Romans. I think they were zealots, willing to take the Romans on, which was why the Roman world considered a Nazarene “a pest” who “stirs up trouble among Jews the world over.”

They considered the temple was the house of God, but were opposed to the Sadducees who they regarded as Roman collaborators. They had a broad base of support among Jews throughout Judea and much of the Roman Empire. Many ordinary Jews and Pharisees would have considered the Nazarenes brothers in the struggle against Rome.

Yeshua became their chief after John the Baptist’s death, and he remained in charge for (probably) a few years. Leadership was inherited from blood relations, which explains it passing from John the Baptist to Yeshua, and after Yeshua’s death, on to James, his brother.

James and the other Nazarenes didn’t think Yeshua was the son of God, or that he needed to die to save anyone from their sins (http://www.petahtikvah.com/Articles/nazarenes.htm). They believed he was a (human) prophet who they hoped could be Israel’s messiah.

We read very little about this group in the pages of history because mainly Gentiles wrote that history, and the early Christians ignored the Nazarenes, or wrote them off as heretics, or tried to claim that some of them believed in the divinity of Christ. I think the modern reader interested in Jesus should be interested in their story.

Yeshua the Young Man

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

If something swims in the sea, in a school of fish, looks like a fish, and gets caught on a hook, that something is a fish. 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, 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!
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13-08-2016, 02:25 AM
RE: Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
(12-08-2016 11:09 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  
(12-08-2016 10:16 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  My entire point here was to demonstrate to you that because you are using the exact same sources as I use, then the distinction between your basic concept of Yeshua and the historical view of Jesus is virtually non existent.

However, the problem with your position is that you really don't know anything about your concept of Yeshua outside the common sources we both use. To establish historicity with your concept as being "probable" you are required to use exactly the same sources that historians use to establish their historicity of Jesus.

Now let's take this a step further. I quote you twice below:

"I can't agree with you here either. The Jews never had "faith in Christ"

"by which I presume you meant "the Nazarenes." I have to disagree with you there. "
"

I will reply to this with a quote from James:

Jas 1:1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes in the Dispersion, greeting:

Jas_2:1 My brothers, do not have the faith of our Lord Christ, the Lord of glory, with respecter of faces.

Now before you think "interpolation," consider the following:

Saint Hegesippus circa CE 150 is quoted as saying:

"They came, therefore, in a body to James, and said: "We entreat thee, restrain the people: for they have gone astray in their opinions about Jesus, as if he were the Christ. We entreat thee to persuade all who have come hither for the day of the passover, concerning Jesus. For we all listen to thy persuasion; since we, as well as all the people, bear thee testimony that thou art just, and showest partiality to none. Do thou, therefore, persuade the people not to entertain erroneous opinions concerning Jesus: for all the people, and we also, listen to thy persuasion. Take thy stand, then, upon the summit of the temple, that from that elevated spot thou mayest be clearly seen, and thy words may be plainly audible to all the people. For, in order to attend the passover, all the tribes have congregated hither, and some of the Gentiles also."[75]

To the scribes' and Pharisees' dismay, James boldly testified that "Christ himself sitteth in heaven, at the right hand of the Great Power, and shall come on the clouds of heaven". The scribes and pharisees then said to themselves, "We have not done well in procuring this testimony to Jesus. But let us go up and throw him down, that they may be afraid, and not believe him."

Accordingly, the scribes and Pharisees

... threw down the just man... [and] began to stone him: for he was not killed by the fall; but he turned, and kneeled down, and said: "I beseech thee, Lord God our Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."

And, while they were there, stoning him to death, one of the priests, the sons of Rechab, the son of Rechabim, to whom testimony is borne by Jeremiah the prophet, began to cry aloud, saying: “Cease, what do ye? The just man is praying for us." But one among them, one of the fullers, took the staff with which he was accustomed to wring out the garments he dyed, and hurled it at the head of the just man.

And so he suffered martyrdom; and they buried him on the spot, and the pillar erected to his memory still remains, close by the temple. This man was a true witness to both Jews and Greeks that Jesus is the Christ.
— Fragments from the Acts of the Church; Concerning the Martyrdom of James, the Brother of the Lord, from Book 5.[75]"


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James,_brother_of_Jesus

All available historical sources indicate that James did consider his brother Jesus to be the Messiah/Christ.

What are your thoughts on this?

Congratulations on posting some evidence, particularly without spitting abuse at others. Keep it up please!

"All available historical sources indicate that James did consider his brother Jesus to be the Messiah/Christ. What are your thoughts on this?"

Yes, there are two lines in James' letter which mention the "Lord Jesus Christ." I'll grant you that.

I think they are (small) interpolations. Here is my reasoning.

The author was, supposedly, and according to you, the brother of the Christ. The brother of the son of God, the one who had risen from the dead! The very Jesus Christ who had been a fabulous preacher, and who had, by some accounts, performed numerous miracles. James had allegedly grown up with the main man at the centre of the universe. Yet what does James say about his famous brothers exploits? Nothing! Just two miserable little phrases.

If I thought my brother was God and I thought he had risen from the dead, or even if I just thought he was just a fabulous preacher spouting something new and different, I would make a big deal of it. James doesn't because Yeshua wasn't.

James was a pious Jew. He is adamantly opposed to Paul and Paul's doctrine...ie proto Christianity. This much is obvious from his letter. James derides the "faith " idea... he's a "works" man, not a faith man. He respects every minute detail of "the Law." He writes to those who worship in a synagogue, not a church. What this means is that he's Jewish through and through... not a Christian.

That is why I think the "Lord Jesus Christ" phrases don't fit with the other 99% of the letter. They are interpolations.
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13-08-2016, 04:12 AM
RE: Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
(12-08-2016 10:16 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  
(12-08-2016 09:49 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  
How can you use the same sources to claim your Yeshua probably existed without considering as equally plausible that my concept of Jesus probably existed?


I'm not sure what your concept of Jesus is.

I know you have written...

"Jewish followers of Christ included the Nazarene"

by which I presume you meant "the Nazarenes." I have to disagree with you there. The Nazarenes were never Christians in any sense of the word. I don't think they would've ever referred to Yeshua as "Christ."

"The title of Christian was the evolution of faith in Christ as it traversed from Jew to Gentile."

I can't agree with you here either. The Jews never had "faith in Christ"

"...it was a title applied to Gentile followers of Christ, and not to Jewish followers of Christ."

Now you are on the money. The people who wrote about Christ may have tried to entice Jews into their belief system, but it never worked. The whole spiel was only ever swallowed by Gentiles.

So...perhaps you had better explain what your concept of Jesus is, as I suspect you and I have serious disagreements on who the real person ( why don't we call him Yeshua?) really was.

My entire point here was to demonstrate to you that because you are using the exact same sources as I use, then the distinction between your basic concept of Yeshua and the historical view of Jesus is virtually non existent.

However, the problem with your position is that you really don't know anything about your concept of Yeshua outside the common sources we both use. To establish historicity with your concept as being "probable" you are required to use exactly the same sources that historians use to establish their historicity of Jesus.

Now let's take this a step further. I quote you twice below:

"I can't agree with you here either. The Jews never had "faith in Christ"

"by which I presume you meant "the Nazarenes." I have to disagree with you there. "
"

I will reply to this with a quote from James:

Jas 1:1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes in the Dispersion, greeting:

Jas_2:1 My brothers, do not have the faith of our Lord Christ, the Lord of glory, with respecter of faces.

Now before you think "interpolation," consider the following:

Saint Hegesippus circa CE 150 is quoted as saying:

"They came, therefore, in a body to James, and said: "We entreat thee, restrain the people: for they have gone astray in their opinions about Jesus, as if he were the Christ. We entreat thee to persuade all who have come hither for the day of the passover, concerning Jesus. For we all listen to thy persuasion; since we, as well as all the people, bear thee testimony that thou art just, and showest partiality to none. Do thou, therefore, persuade the people not to entertain erroneous opinions concerning Jesus: for all the people, and we also, listen to thy persuasion. Take thy stand, then, upon the summit of the temple, that from that elevated spot thou mayest be clearly seen, and thy words may be plainly audible to all the people. For, in order to attend the passover, all the tribes have congregated hither, and some of the Gentiles also."[75]

To the scribes' and Pharisees' dismay, James boldly testified that "Christ himself sitteth in heaven, at the right hand of the Great Power, and shall come on the clouds of heaven". The scribes and pharisees then said to themselves, "We have not done well in procuring this testimony to Jesus. But let us go up and throw him down, that they may be afraid, and not believe him."

Accordingly, the scribes and Pharisees

... threw down the just man... [and] began to stone him: for he was not killed by the fall; but he turned, and kneeled down, and said: "I beseech thee, Lord God our Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."

And, while they were there, stoning him to death, one of the priests, the sons of Rechab, the son of Rechabim, to whom testimony is borne by Jeremiah the prophet, began to cry aloud, saying: “Cease, what do ye? The just man is praying for us." But one among them, one of the fullers, took the staff with which he was accustomed to wring out the garments he dyed, and hurled it at the head of the just man.

And so he suffered martyrdom; and they buried him on the spot, and the pillar erected to his memory still remains, close by the temple. This man was a true witness to both Jews and Greeks that Jesus is the Christ.
— Fragments from the Acts of the Church; Concerning the Martyrdom of James, the Brother of the Lord, from Book 5.[75]"


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James,_brother_of_Jesus

All available historical sources indicate that James did consider his brother Jesus to be the Messiah/Christ.

What are your thoughts on this?


My entire point here was to demonstrate to you that because you are using the exact same sources as I use,

Well...we have used some of the same sources. Yet I have read scores of books you haven't, and possibly vice versa. I have listened to hundreds of podcasts you haven't, and possibly vice versa. We cannot have watched identical documentaries. I have had the occasional original thought...have you?

"....then the distinction between your basic concept of Yeshua and the historical view of Jesus is virtually non existent."

Sorry...I can't make sense of this...you will need to rephrase it for me. Or...maybe I am just dim witted....please, anyone who understands whatever this point may be, please illuminate me.
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13-08-2016, 09:49 AM (This post was last modified: 13-08-2016 01:25 PM by GoingUp.)
RE: Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
(12-08-2016 11:09 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  
(12-08-2016 10:16 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  My entire point here was to demonstrate to you that because you are using the exact same sources as I use, then the distinction between your basic concept of Yeshua and the historical view of Jesus is virtually non existent.

However, the problem with your position is that you really don't know anything about your concept of Yeshua outside the common sources we both use. To establish historicity with your concept as being "probable" you are required to use exactly the same sources that historians use to establish their historicity of Jesus.

Now let's take this a step further. I quote you twice below:

"I can't agree with you here either. The Jews never had "faith in Christ"

"by which I presume you meant "the Nazarenes." I have to disagree with you there. "
"

I will reply to this with a quote from James:

Jas 1:1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes in the Dispersion, greeting:

Jas_2:1 My brothers, do not have the faith of our Lord Christ, the Lord of glory, with respecter of faces.

Now before you think "interpolation," consider the following:

Saint Hegesippus circa CE 150 is quoted as saying:

"They came, therefore, in a body to James, and said: "We entreat thee, restrain the people: for they have gone astray in their opinions about Jesus, as if he were the Christ. We entreat thee to persuade all who have come hither for the day of the passover, concerning Jesus. For we all listen to thy persuasion; since we, as well as all the people, bear thee testimony that thou art just, and showest partiality to none. Do thou, therefore, persuade the people not to entertain erroneous opinions concerning Jesus: for all the people, and we also, listen to thy persuasion. Take thy stand, then, upon the summit of the temple, that from that elevated spot thou mayest be clearly seen, and thy words may be plainly audible to all the people. For, in order to attend the passover, all the tribes have congregated hither, and some of the Gentiles also."[75]

To the scribes' and Pharisees' dismay, James boldly testified that "Christ himself sitteth in heaven, at the right hand of the Great Power, and shall come on the clouds of heaven". The scribes and pharisees then said to themselves, "We have not done well in procuring this testimony to Jesus. But let us go up and throw him down, that they may be afraid, and not believe him."

Accordingly, the scribes and Pharisees

... threw down the just man... [and] began to stone him: for he was not killed by the fall; but he turned, and kneeled down, and said: "I beseech thee, Lord God our Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."

And, while they were there, stoning him to death, one of the priests, the sons of Rechab, the son of Rechabim, to whom testimony is borne by Jeremiah the prophet, began to cry aloud, saying: “Cease, what do ye? The just man is praying for us." But one among them, one of the fullers, took the staff with which he was accustomed to wring out the garments he dyed, and hurled it at the head of the just man.

And so he suffered martyrdom; and they buried him on the spot, and the pillar erected to his memory still remains, close by the temple. This man was a true witness to both Jews and Greeks that Jesus is the Christ.
— Fragments from the Acts of the Church; Concerning the Martyrdom of James, the Brother of the Lord, from Book 5.[75]"


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James,_brother_of_Jesus

All available historical sources indicate that James did consider his brother Jesus to be the Messiah/Christ.

What are your thoughts on this?

Congratulations on posting some evidence, particularly without spitting abuse at others. Keep it up please!

Yes, there are two lines in James' letter which mention the "Lord Jesus Christ." I'll grant you that.

I think they are (small) interpolations. Here is my reasoning.

The author was, supposedly, the brother of the Christ. The brother of the son of God, the one who had risen from the dead. This Jesus Christ who had been a fabulous preacher, and who had, by some accounts, performed numerous miracles. James had allegedly grown up with the main man at the centre of the universe. Yet what does James say about his famous brothers exploits? Nothing! Just two miserable little phrases.

If I thought my brother was God and I thought he had risen from the dead, or even if I just thought he was just a fabulous preacher spouting something new and different, I would make a big deal of it. James doesn't because Yeshua wasn't.

James was a pious Jew. He is adamantly opposed to Paul and Paul's doctrine...ie proto Christianity. This much is obvious from his letter. James derides the "faith " idea... he's a "works" man, not a faith man. He respects every minute detail of "the Law." He writes to those who worship in a synagogue, not a church. What this means is that he's Jewish through and through... not a Christian.

That is why I think the "Lord Jesus Christ" phrases don't fit with the other 99% of the letter. They are interpolations.

Now, let me explain to you something you may not have noticed.

Firstly, you will not find in the Epistle of James or the text of Hegesippus any of the following:

1. That Jesus rose from the dead.
2. That Jesus was the son of God.
3. That Jesus performed any miracles.


When you examine everything we can find regarding James, what we are looking at is most probably the Nazarene view of Jesus of Nazareth; the competing view to Paul's adopted Christian view.

This church in Jerusalem in which James headed up had absolutely nothing to do with the resurrection story, the son of God thing, or any claim of miracles.

But they still viewed Jesus as the Messiah.

Now consider this; the best way for any religious figure to become widely known is if you have two or more fierce competitors competing for followers. For example, if you have the Church of Jerusalem, Christianity, and perhaps also the Gnostics all claiming some kind of entitlement to Jesus, stories about this man will spread like wildfire, especially in a culture that is already greatly predisposed to belief in gods and magical things.

Those who are closest to him and who knew him will know the truth about him. This is exactly why you do not see James saying anything about the resurrection, miracles, or the son of God thing.

But those who never met him will believe wild stories about him, such as the Christians and Gnostics did.

Now there is also something else you may wish to consider here:

I have no doubts that there was an empty tomb where Jesus was buried. How it got empty is unknown for a certainty, but certainly it wasn't because he rose from the dead. The reason I accept this historically is we currently do not have any probable grave site for this man, and since he was so widely known, a grave site should at least be known in my opinion. An empty tomb appears to be the best explanation of the resurrection rumor, which spread throughout the Roman Empire in virtually all Christian documents, and is what is most probably referred to in both Tacitus and Suetonius as a "mischievous superstition." And something else, the two oldest manuscripts of Mark 16 conclude with verse 8, which ends with the women fleeing from the empty tomb. No resurrection story is present in the 2 oldest extant manuscripts, as both end at the empty tomb.

Why that tomb was empty is anybody's guess. The Gospels give us a couple clues such as him being buried there only because the sun was going down and they needed him buried before the Sabbath at sundown. This can indicate that this tomb was intended to be temporary. Have a look at John 19:42 which tells you the reasons he was buried in that tomb:

Joh 19:42  There, then, because of the Preparation of the Jews, because the tomb was near, they laid Jesus.

As you can see there are two reasons why he was laid in that tomb:

1. because of the Preparation of the Jews, It was Preparation Day, and if the sun was going down, it would be a High Sabbath at sun down.

2. because the tomb was near, indicates that since the tomb was near, and since they were concerned about the sun going down, they rushed to bury him there.

Also, Mar 15:42, Mat 27:57, and Luk 23:54 all strongly indicate that the Sabbath was fast approaching, and that there was very little time remaining in the day to get the work done of burying Jesus in that tomb. This indicates that all 4 gospels records are in agreement with my burial tomb position.

Now, if Jesus was Nazarene, then the Nazarene may have had their own kind of burial rites, and their own laws and rules that didn't agree with the Sadducee and Pharisee. They simply could have moved his body sometime through the night, (Mat 28:13) and took it to his family tomb, or some other final resting place.

However, if my theory is true, we can then understand where this rumor of his resurrection came from (Mat 28:15). Now, if this rumor actually occurred, then obviously the people would claim it to be a miracle of God, and therefore we can postulate that from this rumor of his resurrection, wild stories about ALL his supposed miracles began to develop.

I mean, if people believed that he rose from the dead, then certainly he can walk on water, raise other people from the dead, and heal the sick, right? Therefore, we can postulate by using reasoning along with the available evidence to determine exactly where the stories of all his supposed miracles began; with the rumor of a miraculous resurrection.

Yet, those of his family, such as James, never spoke of this resurrection. Why? Because they knew it wasn't true. Yes, they accepted Jesus as Messiah, but they completely rejected this resurrection story, and for good reason; they were probably the ones who moved his body out of the temporary tomb under the cover of darkness and into his final resting place. No one would know, because it would have been done on the Sabbath, offending the Pharisee and Sadducee, and therefore breaking those laws of doing work on the Sabbath. That may be exactly why we see no record of it. It was a crime, so who would admit to committing a crime which could result in being stoned? No one. Also, if Jesus was a Nazarene, and if the gospels can be used for any history whatsoever, then we also see Jesus having a completely different understanding of working on the Sabbath; one in which offended the Pharisee and Sadducee.

So, who started the rumor of this resurrection which caused all the other miracle stories to be propagated? That's the big question.

Next we will discuss both Peter and Mary the Magdalene.

But before we go there, what are your thoughts?
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13-08-2016, 10:37 AM (This post was last modified: 13-08-2016 10:41 AM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
(13-08-2016 09:49 AM)GoingUp Wrote:  So, who started the rumor of this resurrection, which caused all the other miracle stories to be propagated?
But before we go there, what are your thoughts?

Wrong.
Acts 1:6
"When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?"

They were well aware he was no messiah.
Someone cooked that up later.
http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articl...son-of-god

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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13-08-2016, 10:41 AM (This post was last modified: 13-08-2016 10:49 AM by GoingUp.)
RE: Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
(13-08-2016 10:37 AM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
(13-08-2016 09:49 AM)GoingUp Wrote:  So, who started the rumor of this resurrection, which caused all the other miracle stories to be propagated?
But before we go there, what are your thoughts?

Wrong.
Acts 1:6
"When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?"

They were well aware he was no messiah.
Someone cooked that up later.

Since my entire position above clearly states that the resurrection was nothing but a rumor, how then can you possibly argue against it with a quote which addresses a resurrected Christ?

And even if this verse depicted any truth to it (which it certainly does not) how can you arrive at your conclusion when right in the text they are asking him if HE will restore Israel, a theme completely consistent with what was expected of a Messiah?

Insane.

Facepalm
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13-08-2016, 03:56 PM
RE: Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
Quote:Yeshua’s Infancy

There is nothing you said here that I view as being credible, not so much of because of what you said, but because I find these stories regarding the nativity and the birth of Jesus as being far beyond the scope of being realistic, and also to be a very poor attempt to justify Jesus as being a Messiah.

Sorry Mark, but I find your depiction of the birth of Jesus as being nothing more than an echo of fiction. Just so you know, no secular historians accept the biblical accounts regarding the birth of Jesus as having any historical value either.

Therefore I conclude that there is nothing we can learn about Yeshua's birth in the Gospel records.

Quote:Yeshua’s Early Life

Firstly, I like other historians find the argument for the non existence of Nazareth in the 1st century to be very unconvincing nor is it even really even tenable. My reasons for this have already been discussed to the point of ad nauseum, and not much can be added.

I find no good reason for Jesus to not have come from Nazareth.

Quote:Yeshua’s Brothers and Sisters

I pretty much agree here.

Quote:Why, then, don’t we hear more about Yeshua’s brothers and sisters?

Probably because of James. He represented a competing sect and the Christians didn't want to promote his contradictory view of Jesus by making a big deal of him or his family. We are lucky to even get the one letter of James in the NT, which likely didn't get considered for the earliest canon. In fact, it is not listed in the Muratorian fragment which many scholars date to around CE 170. But it was listed in the canon in by Athanasius of Alexandria in CE 367.

But by the time it would be considered for the canon, any contradictory views of James verses the Christians would have been long forgotten, and since the letter in the NT doesn't say anything to contradict the Christian views of the resurrection, miracles, and son of God, it could be canonized and absorbed as part of the Christian belief system.

Now the Christians could add a family member who provides credibility to the Christian belief that Jesus was some kind of a god. The letter by Jude is also likely a letter by Jesus' brother, and it follows the exact same theme as James' letter, and also mentions nothing of the resurrection of Jesus, miracles, or son of God.

And if you read James and Jude, both demonstrate a striking similarity to the teachings of Jesus as portrayed in the Gospel records. They, like Jesus, portrayed an apocalyptic view of their times. Neither letter supplies any kind of Christian/Gentile overtones, and appear to be directed strictly towards Jews.

I will review more later.

Please provide me your thoughts.
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13-08-2016, 04:42 PM
RE: Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
(13-08-2016 09:49 AM)GoingUp Wrote:  
(12-08-2016 11:09 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Congratulations on posting some evidence, particularly without spitting abuse at others. Keep it up please!

Yes, there are two lines in James' letter which mention the "Lord Jesus Christ." I'll grant you that.

I think they are (small) interpolations. Here is my reasoning.

The author was, supposedly, the brother of the Christ. The brother of the son of God, the one who had risen from the dead. This Jesus Christ who had been a fabulous preacher, and who had, by some accounts, performed numerous miracles. James had allegedly grown up with the main man at the centre of the universe. Yet what does James say about his famous brothers exploits? Nothing! Just two miserable little phrases.

If I thought my brother was God and I thought he had risen from the dead, or even if I just thought he was just a fabulous preacher spouting something new and different, I would make a big deal of it. James doesn't because Yeshua wasn't.

James was a pious Jew. He is adamantly opposed to Paul and Paul's doctrine...ie proto Christianity. This much is obvious from his letter. James derides the "faith " idea... he's a "works" man, not a faith man. He respects every minute detail of "the Law." He writes to those who worship in a synagogue, not a church. What this means is that he's Jewish through and through... not a Christian.

That is why I think the "Lord Jesus Christ" phrases don't fit with the other 99% of the letter. They are interpolations.

Now, let me explain to you something you may not have noticed.

Firstly, you will not find in the Epistle of James or the text of Hegesippus any of the following:

1. That Jesus rose from the dead.
2. That Jesus was the son of God.
3. That Jesus performed any miracles.


When you examine everything we can find regarding James, what we are looking at is most probably the Nazarene view of Jesus of Nazareth; the competing view to Paul's adopted Christian view.

This church in Jerusalem in which James headed up had absolutely nothing to do with the resurrection story, the son of God thing, or any claim of miracles.

But they still viewed Jesus as the Messiah.

Now consider this; the best way for any religious figure to become widely known is if you have two or more fierce competitors competing for followers. For example, if you have the Church of Jerusalem, Christianity, and perhaps also the Gnostics all claiming some kind of entitlement to Jesus, stories about this man will spread like wildfire, especially in a culture that is already greatly predisposed to belief in gods and magical things.

Those who are closest to him and who knew him will know the truth about him. This is exactly why you do not see James saying anything about the resurrection, miracles, or the son of God thing.

But those who never met him will believe wild stories about him, such as the Christians and Gnostics did.

Now there is also something else you may wish to consider here:

I have no doubts that there was an empty tomb where Jesus was buried. How it got empty is unknown for a certainty, but certainly it wasn't because he rose from the dead. The reason I accept this historically is we currently do not have any probable grave site for this man, and since he was so widely known, a grave site should at least be known in my opinion. An empty tomb appears to be the best explanation of the resurrection rumor, which spread throughout the Roman Empire in virtually all Christian documents, and is what is most probably referred to in both Tacitus and Suetonius as a "mischievous superstition." And something else, the two oldest manuscripts of Mark 16 conclude with verse 8, which ends with the women fleeing from the empty tomb. No resurrection story is present in the 2 oldest extant manuscripts, as both end at the empty tomb.

Why that tomb was empty is anybody's guess. The Gospels give us a couple clues such as him being buried there only because the sun was going down and they needed him buried before the Sabbath at sundown. This can indicate that this tomb was intended to be temporary. Have a look at John 19:42 which tells you the reasons he was buried in that tomb:

Joh 19:42  There, then, because of the Preparation of the Jews, because the tomb was near, they laid Jesus.

As you can see there are two reasons why he was laid in that tomb:

1. because of the Preparation of the Jews, It was Preparation Day, and if the sun was going down, it would be a High Sabbath at sun down.

2. because the tomb was near, indicates that since the tomb was near, and since they were concerned about the sun going down, they rushed to bury him there.

Also, Mar 15:42, Mat 27:57, and Luk 23:54 all strongly indicate that the Sabbath was fast approaching, and that there was very little time remaining in the day to get the work done of burying Jesus in that tomb. This indicates that all 4 gospels records are in agreement with my burial tomb position.

Now, if Jesus was Nazarene, then the Nazarene may have had their own kind of burial rites, and their own laws and rules that didn't agree with the Sadducee and Pharisee. They simply could have moved his body sometime through the night, (Mat 28:13) and took it to his family tomb, or some other final resting place.

However, if my theory is true, we can then understand where this rumor of his resurrection came from (Mat 28:15). Now, if this rumor actually occurred, then obviously the people would claim it to be a miracle of God, and therefore we can postulate that from this rumor of his resurrection, wild stories about ALL his supposed miracles began to develop.

I mean, if people believed that he rose from the dead, then certainly he can walk on water, raise other people from the dead, and heal the sick, right? Therefore, we can postulate by using reasoning along with the available evidence to determine exactly where the stories of all his supposed miracles began; with the rumor of a miraculous resurrection.

Yet, those of his family, such as James, never spoke of this resurrection. Why? Because they knew it wasn't true. Yes, they accepted Jesus as Messiah, but they completely rejected this resurrection story, and for good reason; they were probably the ones who moved his body out of the temporary tomb under the cover of darkness and into his final resting place. No one would know, because it would have been done on the Sabbath, offending the Pharisee and Sadducee, and therefore breaking those laws of doing work on the Sabbath. That may be exactly why we see no record of it. It was a crime, so who would admit to committing a crime which could result in being stoned? No one. Also, if Jesus was a Nazarene, and if the gospels can be used for any history whatsoever, then we also see Jesus having a completely different understanding of working on the Sabbath; one in which offended the Pharisee and Sadducee.

So, who started the rumor of this resurrection which caused all the other miracle stories to be propagated? That's the big question.

Next we will discuss both Peter and Mary the Magdalene.

But before we go there, what are your thoughts?


"Firstly, you will not find in the Epistle of James or the text of Hegesippus any of the following:

1. That Jesus rose from the dead.
2. That Jesus was the son of God.
3. That Jesus performed any miracles.

When you examine everything we can find regarding James, what we are looking at is most probably the Nazarene view of Jesus of Nazareth; the competing view to Paul's adopted Christian view.

This church in Jerusalem in which James headed up had absolutely nothing to do with the resurrection story, the son of God thing, or any claim of miracles."


Agreed. 100%.

They were Jews. Not "Jewish Christians." They continued living as devout Jews for a few hundred years after the death of Jesus.

Big Grin
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