Jesus myth
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04-04-2014, 06:30 AM
RE: Jesus myth
Did anyone else read the article in the latest Skeptic magazine titled "Did Jesus Exist?"?

Tim Callahan points out that both sides of the argument (mythicists vs historicists) have been known to overstate their case.

Here is the last paragraph of the article... "So, was Jesus historical? In my opinion, the passages from the Antiquities and the Annals are genuine and historical. Thus, Jesus, too, was historical... barely. He was, at the same time a figure of convergent mythic systems, both Jewish and pagan. Ultimately, however, the historical Jesus is so imbued with mythic characteristics as to render his historicity moot."
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04-04-2014, 08:38 AM (This post was last modified: 04-04-2014 10:33 AM by Deltabravo.)
RE: Jesus myth
(07-02-2014 04:13 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  
(07-02-2014 06:50 AM)Deltabravo Wrote:  Hi Mark,

I haven't read Ellis yet so I can't comment about whether his theories actually hang together. I was very shocked when I read Atwill because I studied religion at university when John Allegro's theories were around but I had no understanding of the Jewish revolt or the role of Titus Flavius.

I thought I pretty much understood Atwill. I have the book and I have watched his videos so I am interested to hear why you feel I have got it wrong.

I am not so sure he and Ellis are that far apart because Atwill, in one of his interviews says that the "christ" is a "mason" i., tekton, rather than a carpenter which starts to bring in the Egyptian theme again although he only allude to it.

My beef with some people is that they just throw around invectives when they don't actually have a view. Any search for the truth in this sort of field requires one to use one's intuition and to piece things together since it is such a long time ago, most of the evidence has been lost, destroyed, re-written, hijacked etc so to just call someone names when one has nothing to add to the debate is silly.

My point in all this is that if Atwill is right, then we are looking for the historical person (not a god man) behind Jesus in the wrong era and the one person who stands out in 67 AD is Jesus of Gamala. I know hardly anything about him or whether his teachings are anything like the New Testament...

One thing I try to bear in mind is that people then did not read or write and relied on what people in authoritative positions told them so when someone comes to town who says he is representing Rome and tells a bunch of people who belong to a religoin that their saviour has arrived and has been crucified, resurrected etc, precisely to what religious group is he speaking? D S Murdoch says that Christianity predates Jesus? Then there is Mithraism??? Who knows who the supposed Paul character was visiting around the Mediterranean to give them news. I have to agree that this event, whether it is a construction by Romans of a fake Jesus out of existing myths, or is based partly on a wandering priest or is based on Jesus of Gamala has to be referenced to something in the churches he visited in order for it to make sense. "Hey people , that messiah you have all been worshipping...he arrived in Judea last year"....

I can't see my way around that.

"My point in all this is that if Atwill is right, then we are looking for the historical person (not a god man) behind Jesus in the wrong era and the one person who stands out in 67 AD is Jesus of Gamala."

BUT....if our Jeebus is Jesus of Gamala, it's very hard to explain a few things.

1. Our Jeebus interacted with John the Baptist, the existence of whom has been independently historically verified by Josephus and others, in the late 20s.

2. Paul, who almost certainly wrote in late 40s 50s and early 60s claims he met James the brother of Jesus and Peter, the disciple. He doesn't speak of them with much respect, which to my mind means these references are unlikely to have been Christian interpolations.

3. The existence of James, the brother of our Jeebus, has been independently historically verified by numerous authors. I'm not aware that Jesus of Gamala had a brother named James.

I'll tell you what my opinion on an historical Jesus is. I believe there probably was a Jewish insurgent in the late 20s and early 30s who was crucified by the Romans for trying to start a war in Jerusalem. I think that Flavian's borrowed the identity of this relatively unknown character to create Jeebus. The Nazarenes still existed after the first Jewish War, and were a thorn in the side of Roman peace. They would've remembered their hero figure, so to turn him into a Rome loving, peace loving, tax paying preacher was rubbing shit in the faces of the Nazarenes. Great propaganda!


Mark, I don't know enough about Ellis' theory to answer those questions. I have been trying to get hold of the ebook with no luck as it doesn't want to download to Kindle and I don't know how to download to an iPhone.

Ellis' view is similar to Atwilll's. He says that Paul is actually Josephus and Jesus of Gamala had a brother, as did Izats Manu Monobasus. He says this Jesus, Izats person was also known as King Agbar VI of Edessa, I think.

All these characters did exist. No one has ever taken issue with that. What is controversial about Ellis is that he says they are all the same person and they are the son of Queen Helena who he says was from Edessa. He says that the Abiadene reference is simply wrong and made up by Josephus. That is the key issue in Ellis' theory. On that basis it is not a particularly difficult idea to get to grips with. If one accepts for the sake of argument that these are the same person then it gets very interesting because the features of this man are strikingly similar to a "Jesus" figure in terms of what his life "might" have been like based on a number of facts about him that are accepted.

Most people don't think he is the same person so that is the sticking point. I think the time frame is that he is a middle aged man in the 60's AD but I am not sure.

Ellis only describes all of this as trying to join dots rather than "prove" something and that is all any of us can do about ancient history as Free has pointed out above. I think Jesus was historical, but not in the 30s, unless one says that the Eleazor character, a wandering Nazarite rabbi was "Jesus".

Where I disagree with most is that I am looking at this as a literary work and trying to get to grips with its features, like Atwill, who says it is "typological". This is a feature of Celtic literature and Norse literature where the Horus myth, for instance, of the avenging son is reworked in Amleth and in Hamlet. This is also a feature of Scots literature where many of the stories about Robert the Bruce are identical to those of William Wallace. It is an old form of political propaganda which builds up a particular person into a god like figure and it has common features such as a lack of information about the actual author who will usually be said to be a common man, "bard", the use of myths and uncertainty as to historical accuracy of the story.

I don't know if that answers your points.

I hope to get hold of Ellis' book at some point but am a bit tied up with moving house at the moment and some other things. I think this is an important issue.

My interest in this is twofold. I am not much interested in mythology or in the hunt for a Jewish/Buddhistic carpenter turned preacher in 30AD history of Judea. What interests me is the literary tradition which Atwill writes about and also the actual philosophy reflected in the New Testament, what it is and where it came from. I have read a bit about the Jewish Nazarite sect and I think this is the "third sect" which Atwill and Ellis are referring to. Other than what I have read on Wikipedia and in the Jewish Encyclopedia I know nothing about this sect.

The main reason I am interested in this is because I am interested in the development of Islam which I am sure is also a political construction following in a similar tradition. We don't know who wrote it, or where and there is mystery around the figure of Mohammed. One is not allowed to draw a picture of him and there are no portraits, depictions, of him. It is all too familiar. I think if "we" can get to grips with this type of literature it is possibly a key to understanding religion for what it is, rather than looking at the content of it. In the grander scheme of things, I see religion as a product of our "stone age" ancestors who were far more sophisticated than we give them credit for.
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04-04-2014, 10:17 PM
RE: Jesus myth
(04-04-2014 08:38 AM)Deltabravo Wrote:  
(07-02-2014 04:13 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  "My point in all this is that if Atwill is right, then we are looking for the historical person (not a god man) behind Jesus in the wrong era and the one person who stands out in 67 AD is Jesus of Gamala."

BUT....if our Jeebus is Jesus of Gamala, it's very hard to explain a few things.

1. Our Jeebus interacted with John the Baptist, the existence of whom has been independently historically verified by Josephus and others, in the late 20s.

2. Paul, who almost certainly wrote in late 40s 50s and early 60s claims he met James the brother of Jesus and Peter, the disciple. He doesn't speak of them with much respect, which to my mind means these references are unlikely to have been Christian interpolations.

3. The existence of James, the brother of our Jeebus, has been independently historically verified by numerous authors. I'm not aware that Jesus of Gamala had a brother named James.

I'll tell you what my opinion on an historical Jesus is. I believe there probably was a Jewish insurgent in the late 20s and early 30s who was crucified by the Romans for trying to start a war in Jerusalem. I think that Flavian's borrowed the identity of this relatively unknown character to create Jeebus. The Nazarenes still existed after the first Jewish War, and were a thorn in the side of Roman peace. They would've remembered their hero figure, so to turn him into a Rome loving, peace loving, tax paying preacher was rubbing shit in the faces of the Nazarenes. Great propaganda!


Mark, I don't know enough about Ellis' theory to answer those questions. I have been trying to get hold of the ebook with no luck as it doesn't want to download to Kindle and I don't know how to download to an iPhone.

Ellis' view is similar to Atwilll's. He says that Paul is actually Josephus and Jesus of Gamala had a brother, as did Izats Manu Monobasus. He says this Jesus, Izats person was also known as King Agbar VI of Edessa, I think.

All these characters did exist. No one has ever taken issue with that. What is controversial about Ellis is that he says they are all the same person and they are the son of Queen Helena who he says was from Edessa. He says that the Abiadene reference is simply wrong and made up by Josephus. That is the key issue in Ellis' theory. On that basis it is not a particularly difficult idea to get to grips with. If one accepts for the sake of argument that these are the same person then it gets very interesting because the features of this man are strikingly similar to a "Jesus" figure in terms of what his life "might" have been like based on a number of facts about him that are accepted.

Most people don't think he is the same person so that is the sticking point. I think the time frame is that he is a middle aged man in the 60's AD but I am not sure.

Ellis only describes all of this as trying to join dots rather than "prove" something and that is all any of us can do about ancient history as Free has pointed out above. I think Jesus was historical, but not in the 30s, unless one says that the Eleazor character, a wandering Nazarite rabbi was "Jesus".

Where I disagree with most is that I am looking at this as a literary work and trying to get to grips with its features, like Atwill, who says it is "typological". This is a feature of Celtic literature and Norse literature where the Horus myth, for instance, of the avenging son is reworked in Amleth and in Hamlet. This is also a feature of Scots literature where many of the stories about Robert the Bruce are identical to those of William Wallace. It is an old form of political propaganda which builds up a particular person into a god like figure and it has common features such as a lack of information about the actual author who will usually be said to be a common man, "bard", the use of myths and uncertainty as to historical accuracy of the story.

I don't know if that answers your points.

I hope to get hold of Ellis' book at some point but am a bit tied up with moving house at the moment and some other things. I think this is an important issue.

My interest in this is twofold. I am not much interested in mythology or in the hunt for a Jewish/Buddhistic carpenter turned preacher in 30AD history of Judea. What interests me is the literary tradition which Atwill writes about and also the actual philosophy reflected in the New Testament, what it is and where it came from. I have read a bit about the Jewish Nazarite sect and I think this is the "third sect" which Atwill and Ellis are referring to. Other than what I have read on Wikipedia and in the Jewish Encyclopedia I know nothing about this sect.

The main reason I am interested in this is because I am interested in the development of Islam which I am sure is also a political construction following in a similar tradition. We don't know who wrote it, or where and there is mystery around the figure of Mohammed. One is not allowed to draw a picture of him and there are no portraits, depictions, of him. It is all too familiar. I think if "we" can get to grips with this type of literature it is possibly a key to understanding religion for what it is, rather than looking at the content of it. In the grander scheme of things, I see religion as a product of our "stone age" ancestors who were far more sophisticated than we give them credit for.

Hi, thanks for answering.

No disrespect to you, but it seems that you , like me, and others here, have great trouble even understanding what Ellis is saying. I did download one (there are many) of his books. I got half way through, but just couldn't understand it....couldn't do the mental gymnastics. In the end I decided it wasn't worth it.

"What interests me is the literary tradition which Atwill writes about and also the actual philosophy reflected in the New Testament, what it is and where it came from"

Me too.

"I have read a bit about the Jewish Nazarite sect and I think this is the "third sect" which Atwill and Ellis are referring to. Other than what I have read on Wikipedia and in the Jewish Encyclopedia I know nothing about this sect." I know a fair bit about them, and I've rabbited on about them on this forum a fair bit. The following are good on them...
Schonfield, H. 1977 “The Passover Plot”. Futura Publications. London
Schonfield, H. 1969 “Those Incredible Christians”. Bantam. New York.
Tabor, J. 2006 “The Jesus Dynasty”. Harper Collins. London.
Eisenman, Robert H. “James the Brother of Jesus: The Key to Unlocking the Secrets of Early Christianity and the Dead Sea Scrolls”
Lockhart, D. 1997 “Jesus The Heretic”. Element Books. Dorset.

" I think if "we" can get to grips with this type of literature it is possibly a key to understanding religion for what it is, rather than looking at the content of it. In the grander scheme of things, I see religion as a product of our "stone age" ancestors who were far more sophisticated than we give them credit for."

Yes, yes , yes.

Yet there are better books to read than Ralph's.
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25-04-2014, 06:15 AM (This post was last modified: 25-04-2014 06:28 AM by Deltabravo.)
RE: Jesus myth
(04-04-2014 10:17 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  
(04-04-2014 08:38 AM)Deltabravo Wrote:  Mark, I don't know enough about Ellis' theory to answer those questions. I have been trying to get hold of the ebook with no luck as it doesn't want to download to Kindle and I don't know how to download to an iPhone.

Ellis' view is similar to Atwilll's. He says that Paul is actually Josephus and Jesus of Gamala had a brother, as did Izats Manu Monobasus. He says this Jesus, Izats person was also known as King Agbar VI of Edessa, I think.

All these characters did exist. No one has ever taken issue with that. What is controversial about Ellis is that he says they are all the same person and they are the son of Queen Helena who he says was from Edessa. He says that the Abiadene reference is simply wrong and made up by Josephus. That is the key issue in Ellis' theory. On that basis it is not a particularly difficult idea to get to grips with. If one accepts for the sake of argument that these are the same person then it gets very interesting because the features of this man are strikingly similar to a "Jesus" figure in terms of what his life "might" have been like based on a number of facts about him that are accepted.

Most people don't think he is the same person so that is the sticking point. I think the time frame is that he is a middle aged man in the 60's AD but I am not sure.

Ellis only describes all of this as trying to join dots rather than "prove" something and that is all any of us can do about ancient history as Free has pointed out above. I think Jesus was historical, but not in the 30s, unless one says that the Eleazor character, a wandering Nazarite rabbi was "Jesus".

Where I disagree with most is that I am looking at this as a literary work and trying to get to grips with its features, like Atwill, who says it is "typological". This is a feature of Celtic literature and Norse literature where the Horus myth, for instance, of the avenging son is reworked in Amleth and in Hamlet. This is also a feature of Scots literature where many of the stories about Robert the Bruce are identical to those of William Wallace. It is an old form of political propaganda which builds up a particular person into a god like figure and it has common features such as a lack of information about the actual author who will usually be said to be a common man, "bard", the use of myths and uncertainty as to historical accuracy of the story.

I don't know if that answers your points.

I hope to get hold of Ellis' book at some point but am a bit tied up with moving house at the moment and some other things. I think this is an important issue.

My interest in this is twofold. I am not much interested in mythology or in the hunt for a Jewish/Buddhistic carpenter turned preacher in 30AD history of Judea. What interests me is the literary tradition which Atwill writes about and also the actual philosophy reflected in the New Testament, what it is and where it came from. I have read a bit about the Jewish Nazarite sect and I think this is the "third sect" which Atwill and Ellis are referring to. Other than what I have read on Wikipedia and in the Jewish Encyclopedia I know nothing about this sect.

The main reason I am interested in this is because I am interested in the development of Islam which I am sure is also a political construction following in a similar tradition. We don't know who wrote it, or where and there is mystery around the figure of Mohammed. One is not allowed to draw a picture of him and there are no portraits, depictions, of him. It is all too familiar. I think if "we" can get to grips with this type of literature it is possibly a key to understanding religion for what it is, rather than looking at the content of it. In the grander scheme of things, I see religion as a product of our "stone age" ancestors who were far more sophisticated than we give them credit for.

Hi, thanks for answering.

No disrespect to you, but it seems that you , like me, and others here, have great trouble even understanding what Ellis is saying. I did download one (there are many) of his books. I got half way through, but just couldn't understand it....couldn't do the mental gymnastics. In the end I decided it wasn't worth it.

"What interests me is the literary tradition which Atwill writes about and also the actual philosophy reflected in the New Testament, what it is and where it came from"

Me too.

"I have read a bit about the Jewish Nazarite sect and I think this is the "third sect" which Atwill and Ellis are referring to. Other than what I have read on Wikipedia and in the Jewish Encyclopedia I know nothing about this sect." I know a fair bit about them, and I've rabbited on about them on this forum a fair bit. The following are good on them...
Schonfield, H. 1977 “The Passover Plot”. Futura Publications. London
Schonfield, H. 1969 “Those Incredible Christians”. Bantam. New York.
Tabor, J. 2006 “The Jesus Dynasty”. Harper Collins. London.
Eisenman, Robert H. “James the Brother of Jesus: The Key to Unlocking the Secrets of Early Christianity and the Dead Sea Scrolls”
Lockhart, D. 1997 “Jesus The Heretic”. Element Books. Dorset.

" I think if "we" can get to grips with this type of literature it is possibly a key to understanding religion for what it is, rather than looking at the content of it. In the grander scheme of things, I see religion as a product of our "stone age" ancestors who were far more sophisticated than we give them credit for."

Yes, yes , yes.

Yet there are better books to read than Ralph's.


I haven't read any of Ellis' books. I came at this via an interest in what Atwill says. I was puzzled that Atwill says that the real "Jesus" was Eleazar. I am assuming that this is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eleazar_ben_Azariah There is also an Eleazar of Galillee. http://books.google.com.cy/books?id=KJ4E...ee&f=false

Here we have a person with a name similar to Jesus Emanual, ie., Izatz Manu, who is converted to a Nazarene sect. Sounds like Jesus being "baptized" to me. Helena, his mum, then feeds the poor in Jerusalem and has Izats made a high priest. He is then fed to the Romans, crucified and taken down from the cross by Jospephus Barmathias. If it isn't the stuff of legend, then I don't know what is.

Again, this is all completely new to me. I had never heard of these people and I will be interested to see how this all evolves over the coming years and if anyone picks up on this. Atwill is writing another book, I think.

There is also a lot of archaelogical work being done near Gobeckli Tepe which is near Edessa, or Sanliurfa, which is what it is now called, in Turkey. They have found a huge religious site with buried stone circles going back thousands of years BC. It was all buried and is in perfect conditions as though done to hide these structures. It is very odd. http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/go...65/?no-ist

I think it is fine to criticize people for having what seem like arcane, crackpot ideas but there is clearly a huge amount which we just don't know about history.
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25-06-2014, 06:44 AM (This post was last modified: 26-06-2014 06:35 AM by anonymous66.)
RE: Jesus myth
I've been researching the Christ Myth theory for several months now...

I've been listening to Robert Price's Bible Geek podcast....

Watched every youtube video of Richard Carrier on Christ Myth theory.

Watched every youtube video of Robert Price on the Christ Myth theory.

Here is a more even handed discussion of the possibility of a mythical Jesus.

here's another one.

Bill Cooke discusses the history of the Christ Myth theory here.

I've read...
Not the Impossible Faith by Carrier

The Christ Myth Theory and it's Problems by Price

Bart Ehrman and the Quest for the Historical Jesus of Nazareth by Price, Carrier and others

The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man: How Reliable are the Gospels by Price

I came across Carrier and Price because I started watching the Skepticon conferences on youtube. One doesn't have to watch very many before one gets the idea that to be an atheist (or at least an atheist who likes Skepticon) means to view not only the entire Christian religion as ridiculous, but the idea of a historical Jesus is also promoted as being ridiculous. Then, when one reads Carrier and Price, one learns of the very vociferous fight between Carrier and Price on one side, and Ehrman, a historian and atheist who accepts that there is plenty of evidence to suggest that Jesus existed, on the other.

I was really into the Christ Myth theory for a while. But now... it reminds me of the Intelligent Design debate. Some atheists are so hell-bent on discrediting Christianity that they've lost sight of how to argue effectively. Whatever happened to dealing honestly with the evidence? Murdock/Archaya was behind the Zeitgeist movie (what a load of crap!)... Price promotes Murdock and her work.

I'm pretty disappointed in Robert Price. And Skepticon (Richard Carrier is a prominent speaker), and the Center for Inquiry (Robert Price is a prominent member).

There is evidence of a historical Jesus.. there is no evidence that Jesus was always a myth. Just speculation.

I'd be happy to give the Christ Myth theory another once over, but after I discovered it's all speculation with no evidence... I got kinda bored.

We have evidence that suggests that Jesus was a man killed by the Romans. We have evidence that the first Christians thought of him as a man who was killed by the Romans, then gradually the stories were changed until he came to be thought of as the physically resurrected messiah and God incarnate. We have evidence of those changes.
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