Jesus was a terrorist!
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22-06-2011, 09:37 AM
RE: Jesus was a terrorist!
Hey, Lilith.

I'm afraid I have to slam the door pretty hard on this one. History is not a synonym for anthropology. They are two completely different fields. History is the study of the written record. If it ain’t in the written record, it ain't history. Archaeology is the study of artefacts, architecture, basically the study of "things" left behind, what is called the archaeological record. The time frame that archaeology studies is much longer than the time frame that history studies because writing is only about 6 000 years old, while Cro-Magnon (first modern human) artefacts date back 60 000. Anthropology is the study of humans. That being said, history, archaeology and anthropology are all social sciences, science being the operative word. There is vigorous method applied to all three. Without that method, it isn't history, it's editorialising at best and revisionism at worst.

So I can have an opinion about Jesus, but I can't fabricate things and I need to back up everything I say with the written record, just like an archaeologist needs to back up what they say with the archaeological record and just like evolutionary biologists need to back up what they say with the fossil record.

I can't say that the Tyrannosaurus Rex was a vegetarian and chalk it up to it just being my opinion. I would require empirical evidence from the fossil record. The evidence points towards the truth, not the other way around. Even in archaeology, it's not a matter of filling in the blanks with opinion, it's a matter of hypothesis. Your hypothesis is either supported or not supported by the archaeological record. If I claim it and it is not in the historical record, then I am literally re-writing history. That's unacceptable.

The historical record is not perfect. But that's the burden of historians, not an escape hatch from the scientific method. If there is evidence that some force tampered with or influenced the written record at the time (like a government censor) then that can be addressed, but in a scientific manner, not through guessing. And if there is no written record, then it falls to the other social sciences to investigate.

And when it comes to the evidence itself, it needs to be direct, not circumstantial. If an evolutionary biologist says that the T-Rex had claws and it was a predator, and the koala bear has claws too, therefore, the koala bear is a predator, that doesn’t work. That’s just circumstantial nonsense. So saying that some Jews were pissed and violent, Jesus was a Jew, therefore he was pissed and violent doesn’t work. That’s not evidence, it’s a logical fallacy.

In order to prove the hypothesis that Jesus was a freedom fighter, a historian would need to find documentation of strategy meetings, or attack plans, or accounts of Jesus and/or his followers planning o carrying out attacks. A written account that read, “I remember the day that Jesus rolled into town and stabbed five centurions in the face,” would be incredibly compelling. Or an archaeologist would need to find Jesus’ tomb and find him in battle armour with a sword in his hand. Some kind of direct and verifiable evidence. But we don’t have that kind of evidence. What we do have is written evidence to the exact contrary. All of the evidence that we do have points to Jesus as a man of peace (to be overly simplistic). And even if the claim is that that evidence is tampered with, then prove the tampering or just say, the evidence is unreliable so we don’t actually know what kind of man he was.

Anyhoo, history is cool m’kay. It deserves our respect. It doesn’t deserve to be hijacked.

Hey, Mark.

Mark Wrote:Re "There is no room for poetic licence in history (not that people don't take it)."
Um.....I disagree! I know a little about this. Up until about 50 years ago, people who wrote about history were very comfortable about giving their opinions as fact. Reading their histories was entertaining, but not always strictly truthful. More recently historians have become very factual and reluctant to draw broad conclusions. I think the best reports of history are firmly routed in fact yet contain opinions of historians, so the best historians go down the middle road...a bit of opinion and a lot of fact to back up that opinion. I do not claim i have succeeded in this , but I've had a go.

There's a word for that. Shitty history.

I thought that what I meant was implied. I'm not saying that people don't invent shit. They do. But that's not history, that's revisionism. It is not to be supported and it is to be condemned.

So I warn you against taking the path of "well other people did it". It won't help your credibility.

Thank you for clearing up my questions. I appreciate it.

I don't understand what you mean when you say you're playing the same game that Christians play. Could you elaborate?

We can agree to disagree about the sword thing then. I hadn't read Matthew 10 until yesterday and it seemed clear as day to me. I'm not doing X, I'm doing Y, because I'm setting believers against their families. If you think it's otherwise, that's your thing, but I don't see it. What I do see is that he urges peace throughout the entire thing and the only discrepancy is the word sword, which he immediately qualifies.

I look forward to the rest of your response.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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22-06-2011, 08:38 PM (This post was last modified: 22-06-2011 08:42 PM by Lilith Pride.)
RE: Jesus was a terrorist!
Archeology is in most cases a branch of Anthropology, and the imagination is used along with the rigorous testing. If you don't have an idea you don't find out what comes of it. Plenty of huge breakthroughs exist due to someone postulating if something happened. Mark is not saying that this is a definite truth as far as I can see, and there is nothing wrong with introducing an idea to the world to either accept and research or deny and forget. What do you think affords the money needed for those digs? Fascinating stories and ideas either presented by the lead anthropologist or by authors. The idea generally comes before the discovery in archaeology, sometimes the discovery dwarfs the idea but all the same you only get there by being funded.

Has Mark ever claimed himself to be a professional in the field? He so far is a man with an interest in a subject, and if some of his ideas are deemed cooky then that's that. most of the best make a few mistakes in letting their opinions be carried away so what's wrong with a layman sometimes overreaching. We've discussed the fact that this may hinder his book, but to simply demand he not say anything because the period of time when Jesus was alive had writing is insane. That period is so rife with the loss of libraries, millions of works with untold historical significance were lost. Just because some writings survived does not mean that there isn't a lot of untold history of the time.

I suggested that he omit this part along with most, but that is up to him. I will not sit back while someone argues the idea of history though. The imagination is one of mankinds greatest tools for innovation. Don't sell it short.

I'm not a non believer, I believe in the possibility of anything. I just don't let the actuality of something be determined by a 3rd party.
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22-06-2011, 09:08 PM (This post was last modified: 22-06-2011 09:50 PM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: Jesus was a terrorist!
(22-06-2011 06:26 AM)Lilith Pride Wrote:  I would definitely say that there needs to be an allowance for opinion in history or new discoveries of truth won't happen. The entire idea of anthropological digs is bringing up remnants of an ancient civilization and viewing how they would live. Not knowing but thinking of what it would be like for them. Imagination is a big part of history, it's the key to finding the truth of it. If we were looking at events that happened 30 years ago I would agree more with you Ghost, but thousands of years ago we just don't have enough credible documentation. Some civilizations we don't even have written word to glean from, yet imagination allows the historian to gleam certain facts by reasoning the evidence rather than just relying on it.

Even the history of 30 years ago, we have many new medical breakthroughs, many new understandings of how the mind and psyche work, our views of what is and is not acceptable have changed so vastly. If there were no room for opinion then we might never know some of the stories of people who lived in an oppressed time to the best that they were allowed.

Plenty of authors have used metaphor as their only way to state their actual opinions. Russian literature is filled with books that were essentially two fold so that the government wouldn't step in. If we don't allow ourselves to think past the immediate evidence sometimes there is so much about history that we won't see. A large portion of history is the untold part, most often what is told are the atrocities and the niceties, being alive you know that there is more to live than just these portions.

Lilith, I agree with you. Well informed opinion that is derived from a rational assessment of the facts is very valuable. Matt, I think we are talking about degrees here. I suspect you might agree that well derived opinion is legitimate. If , for example. I state " Adolf Hitler was an evil man because his prejudices against Jews resulted in the deaths of 6 million people" I am stating an opinion based on some facts and that opinion therefore deserved to be considered. Matt, would you agree?
(22-06-2011 09:37 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, Lilith.

I'm afraid I have to slam the door pretty hard on this one. History is not a synonym for anthropology. They are two completely different fields. History is the study of the written record. If it ain’t in the written record, it ain't history. Archaeology is the study of artefacts, architecture, basically the study of "things" left behind, what is called the archaeological record. The time frame that archaeology studies is much longer than the time frame that history studies because writing is only about 6 000 years old, while Cro-Magnon (first modern human) artefacts date back 60 000. Anthropology is the study of humans. That being said, history, archaeology and anthropology are all social sciences, science being the operative word. There is vigorous method applied to all three. Without that method, it isn't history, it's editorialising at best and revisionism at worst.

So I can have an opinion about Jesus, but I can't fabricate things and I need to back up everything I say with the written record, just like an archaeologist needs to back up what they say with the archaeological record and just like evolutionary biologists need to back up what they say with the fossil record.

I can't say that the Tyrannosaurus Rex was a vegetarian and chalk it up to it just being my opinion. I would require empirical evidence from the fossil record. The evidence points towards the truth, not the other way around. Even in archaeology, it's not a matter of filling in the blanks with opinion, it's a matter of hypothesis. Your hypothesis is either supported or not supported by the archaeological record. If I claim it and it is not in the historical record, then I am literally re-writing history. That's unacceptable.

The historical record is not perfect. But that's the burden of historians, not an escape hatch from the scientific method. If there is evidence that some force tampered with or influenced the written record at the time (like a government censor) then that can be addressed, but in a scientific manner, not through guessing. And if there is no written record, then it falls to the other social sciences to investigate.

And when it comes to the evidence itself, it needs to be direct, not circumstantial. If an evolutionary biologist says that the T-Rex had claws and it was a predator, and the koala bear has claws too, therefore, the koala bear is a predator, that doesn’t work. That’s just circumstantial nonsense. So saying that some Jews were pissed and violent, Jesus was a Jew, therefore he was pissed and violent doesn’t work. That’s not evidence, it’s a logical fallacy.

In order to prove the hypothesis that Jesus was a freedom fighter, a historian would need to find documentation of strategy meetings, or attack plans, or accounts of Jesus and/or his followers planning o carrying out attacks. A written account that read, “I remember the day that Jesus rolled into town and stabbed five centurions in the face,” would be incredibly compelling. Or an archaeologist would need to find Jesus’ tomb and find him in battle armour with a sword in his hand. Some kind of direct and verifiable evidence. But we don’t have that kind of evidence. What we do have is written evidence to the exact contrary. All of the evidence that we do have points to Jesus as a man of peace (to be overly simplistic). And even if the claim is that that evidence is tampered with, then prove the tampering or just say, the evidence is unreliable so we don’t actually know what kind of man he was.

Anyhoo, history is cool m’kay. It deserves our respect. It doesn’t deserve to be hijacked.

Hey, Mark.

Mark Wrote:Re "There is no room for poetic licence in history (not that people don't take it)."
Um.....I disagree! I know a little about this. Up until about 50 years ago, people who wrote about history were very comfortable about giving their opinions as fact. Reading their histories was entertaining, but not always strictly truthful. More recently historians have become very factual and reluctant to draw broad conclusions. I think the best reports of history are firmly routed in fact yet contain opinions of historians, so the best historians go down the middle road...a bit of opinion and a lot of fact to back up that opinion. I do not claim i have succeeded in this , but I've had a go.

There's a word for that. Shitty history.

I thought that what I meant was implied. I'm not saying that people don't invent shit. They do. But that's not history, that's revisionism. It is not to be supported and it is to be condemned.

So I warn you against taking the path of "well other people did it". It won't help your credibility.

Thank you for clearing up my questions. I appreciate it.

I don't understand what you mean when you say you're playing the same game that Christians play. Could you elaborate?

We can agree to disagree about the sword thing then. I hadn't read Matthew 10 until yesterday and it seemed clear as day to me. I'm not doing X, I'm doing Y, because I'm setting believers against their families. If you think it's otherwise, that's your thing, but I don't see it. What I do see is that he urges peace throughout the entire thing and the only discrepancy is the word sword, which he immediately qualifies.

I look forward to the rest of your response.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt

Hi Matt....re "the games Christian play" What I mean is all Christians have cherry picked the New Testament to create an image of Jesus and an impression of his teachings. This is why the suggestion that Jesus was a miltant is so confronting to some people. What I think I have done is something Christians rarely do....I have attempted to place Jesus into the real time and place that he existed, and then examined the gospels and cherry picked the parts that fit with the history of the times. So I readily admit that I have cherry picked, the same game as Christians, but have done it from a more real and informed perspective.

Consider something else. Even if we for the moment forget the idea he was a freedom fighter, his supposed words of wisdom are not that impressive either...

Today’s Churches have Reinvented Jesus
Today’s Christian spin-doctors have modernised Jesus to make him acceptable to the world. They have turned him into a loveable character, someone to be worshipped. Yet the Jesus of the Gospels hardly fits this manufactured image.
He was totally intolerant of the unbeliever whom he threatened with the sword and with hell-fire. It is tragic that he set an example for the killing of millions of heretics and non-believers over the centuries. He may have said ‘love one another” but often ignored his own advice. Christians today ignore the intolerant man who threatened violence because his manufactured image is that of a gentle preacher of love and benevolence.

Jesus was an ascetic who advocated the single life. He considered it more important to follow an ideology than have a family and that sexuality was an impediment for entry into heaven. Today churches rarely quote Jesus as saying give up your family or castrate yourself to get into heaven because that is morally and socially unacceptable.

Today we rarely hear Jesus cry
"blessed are the poor" and
“sell everything you own and give the money to the poor”. Churches know most people will ignore this message. They certainly do, as most of them have a love of money. The Vatican has amassed so many riches it is now the wealthiest institution in the world. Some Pentecostal churches have even somehow reinvented Jesus’ message to mean he wants people to be materially successful.

Jesus told people to become like children by just believing his dogma. He badmouthed the value of critical thought. In the past this has suited churches that found it easier to control people who didn’t think for themselves. Nowadays most churches can’t get away with preaching this, so after over 1500 years of suppression of secular education, science and medicine, some churches have refashioned Jesus into someone who wants people to get an education, discover the world and be proactive with their health.

Modern churches have turned Jesus into a good friend. They claim he is someone who is there for everyone and will help anyone in times of need. Yet he repeatedly stated he wasn’t interested in non-Jewish people. He is also dead. There is not a scrap of objective evidence that since his death he has ever helped anyone.

Today’s churches claim Jesus provides the path to happiness, yet Jesus stated he wanted people to be miserable. Churches claim that the God of the Torah, the “God of wrath” has been replaced by the Christian “God of love”. Jesus never stated he thought God had any such change in his personality.

It is quite clear today’s Christian spin-doctors have created an image of Jesus that rescues him from his own story.



(22-06-2011 08:38 PM)Lilith Pride Wrote:  Archeology is in most cases a branch of Anthropology, and the imagination is used along with the rigorous testing. If you don't have an idea you don't find out what comes of it. Plenty of huge breakthroughs exist due to someone postulating if something happened. Mark is not saying that this is a definite truth as far as I can see, and there is nothing wrong with introducing an idea to the world to either accept and research or deny and forget. What do you think affords the money needed for those digs? Fascinating stories and ideas either presented by the lead anthropologist or by authors. The idea generally comes before the discovery in archaeology, sometimes the discovery dwarfs the idea but all the same you only get there by being funded.

Has Mark ever claimed himself to be a professional in the field? He so far is a man with an interest in a subject, and if some of his ideas are deemed cooky then that's that. most of the best make a few mistakes in letting their opinions be carried away so what's wrong with a layman sometimes overreaching. We've discussed the fact that this may hinder his book, but to simply demand he not say anything because the period of time when Jesus was alive had writing is insane. That period is so rife with the loss of libraries, millions of works with untold historical significance were lost. Just because some writings survived does not mean that there isn't a lot of untold history of the time.

I suggested that he omit this part along with most, but that is up to him. I will not sit back while someone argues the idea of history though. The imagination is one of mankinds greatest tools for innovation. Don't sell it short.

Lilith...thankyou so much for saying what I have felt in my heart but have not been eloquent enough to write. There seems to be a lot of tension in the air on this topic. On an Australian forum I was mocked, derided, abused and told to go away because ( I think) people weren't genuinely interested in discussing the idea Jesus was a terrorist/freedom fighter. (I am not accusing you, Matt, of being in the same boat). My attitude is that it is just an interesting and important idea that deserves consideration. I may be wrong, but so what? Why all the emotion? I'm not sure about this, but I sometimes wonder if some atheists still have a deep felt affection, even a subconscious one, for Jesus? I know a lot of them genuinely hate him too LOL

Just for the record, I quite dislike the gospel's Jesus because of some of the terrible things he said. I do however, feel some warmth towards the brave young jewish freedom fighter who tried to improve the lot of his fellow peasant Jews.
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23-06-2011, 04:19 AM
RE: Jesus was a terrorist!
Hi everyone....a few more comments.....

Re.."History is the study of the written record. If it ain’t in the written record, it ain't history. "

Matt, I disagree. Here is dictionary definition...

"history |ˈhist(ə)rē|
noun ( pl. -ries)
1 the study of past events, particularly in human affairs "

History is not just a retelling of facts, written or not written....it is also the interpretation and assessment of what happened. This is why very informed and expert historians can often disagree with each other over interpretation of history.

My premise about Jesus the freedom fighter is that it was gospel authors who were writing mainly for a gentile world who wrote the gospels. "Jesus" had to appeal to a gentile audience. Hence "blessed are the peacemakers, turn the other cheek, love your enemies, return to Caesar what is Caesar's, am I a zealot?, I'll eat with the tax collectors, I am the son of God( or man), I will rise from the dead, the pharisees are hypocrites, Pilate saying I find no guilt in this man, Pilate saying I wash my hands of his death, the Jewish crowd shouting crucify him etc etc.

I postulate remnants of the real Jesus are still in the gospels..."sell your cloak, buy a word, I am a king, kill anyone who doesn't worship me, don't preach to gentiles, I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel, don't think I came to change the (Jewish) Law, I will set Israel free, gentiles are the dogs, worship me or you'll burn in hell, overturning the tables etc.

My interpretations (in my opinion) help make the history come alive, and help explain it. I accept that my interpretations may not be correct, but they get people thinking and add colour and fresh perspectives.

Your comments will be appreciated.
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23-06-2011, 04:29 PM
RE: Jesus was a terrorist!
Hey, Lilith.

Lilith Wrote:What do you think affords the money needed for those digs? Fascinating stories and ideas either presented by the lead anthropologist or by authors.

Sure, but they're saying, I want to investigate to find out about X or to find evidence of Y or to see if my theory Z holds up to whatever evidence we discover.

This will come up throughout the rest of my post, but, it’s all about evidence. That’s the single issue for me in all of this.

Lilith Wrote:Has Mark ever claimed himself to be a professional in the field?

That's irrelevant. If I say that I know how to turn lead into gold, I expect that one or two chemists would call me on it.

Lilith Wrote:...to simply demand he not say anything...

Slow down. I'm not saying don't say anything. I'm saying that there are standards that we all need to be responsible to.

It would be irresponsible of me to say, "if we look at the following Biblical quote: "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you" (John 6:53)" it becomes clear that Jesus was a cannibal and that he was inciting others to cannibalism.

It's perfectly fine for me to say, "I read John 6:53 the other day and I'd like an endowment to investigate cannibalism in the time of Jesus please." <holds out hat> It would be equally fine for me to say, "I've just completed a thorough investigation of Jesus' relationship to cannibalism and this is what I found and here's my evidence." It is not ok to say something is a given way and then offer circumstantial evidence.

Lilith Wrote:That period is so rife with the loss of libraries, millions of works with untold historical significance were lost. Just because some writings survived does not mean that there isn't a lot of untold history of the time.

I agree, the loss of all that knowledge is tragic. Straight up. For example. we know almost nothing about the Mayans because the Spanish burned most of their books. But that is the hell of existence. There are countless untold stories. And for as long as we have no surviving evidence of them, they are to remain untold. Otherwise, we're just inventing stories and calling it history.

Quote:The imagination is one of mankinds greatest tools for innovation. Don't sell it short.

I don't sell it short. But I acknowledge that it has limits and it has its place. You wouldn't trust a surgeon about to cut into you that said, "I imagine your intestines are something like this," and you shouldn't trust a historian who says he imagines either. Only trust those that have strong evidence.

Lilith Wrote:Plenty of huge breakthroughs exist due to someone postulating if something happened. Mark is not saying that this is a definite truth as far as I can see, and there is nothing wrong with introducing an idea to the world to either accept and research or deny and forget.

Postulating, yes. Fabricating, no. Postulating, or more to the point, hypothesising comes from evidence and it is supported by further testing and evidence. You can't just find a couple of circumstantial things and proclaim your grand discovery. That's not how it works.

I think that there's everything wrong with introducing an idea to the world when it's baseless. See the following:



Hey, Mark.

Mark Wrote:My interpretations (in my opinion) help make the history come alive, and help explain it. I accept that my interpretations may not be correct, but they get people thinking and add colour and fresh perspectives.

No they don't. Like Fox News before you, your ideas twist facts and confuse the dialogue. They insert baseless notions into the universal consciousness just like eugenics, Cesare Lombroso's Atavism and birther theory. People are still talking about racial superiority, beady little eyes and how Barak Obama is a foreign-born secret Muslim.

Method is there to protect us from wild claims masked as truth.

As for the written record thing, believe what you want. I am confident that I have the weight of the social sciences on my side.
1. 2, 3.

Of course historians interpret. But they interpret the record, not their opinions. The larger question is, if historians don't base their theories on records, then what do they base it on? Divination?

Mark Wrote:Well informed opinion that is derived from a rational assessment of the facts is very valuable. Matt, I think we are talking about degrees here. I suspect you might agree that well derived opinion is legitimate. If , for example. I state " Adolf Hitler was an evil man because his prejudices against Jews resulted in the deaths of 6 million people" I am stating an opinion based on some facts and that opinion therefore deserved to be considered. Matt, would you agree?

This is gobbledigook. Yes a well informed opinion that is derived from a rational assessment of the facts is very valuable. But I'm sorry, that's not what you've done. We are not talking about degrees. If this was a thesis, do you really think you'd survive a defence? Of course derived opinion is legitimate, but that has nothing to do with what's being discussed here. If I say, what do you base this on, and you show me Inglorious Basterds, I'd be inclined to disbelieve you. If you showed me the megatons of war records, testimonials, communications, official party policy, transportation records, corporate sales and all the other stuff that supported your theory, I'd be cool with that. You have taken a few words here and there and extrapolated an explanation that has no support.

Ok, so Jesus talks about swords and executing people and angels throwing people into fire and selling cloaks and saving lives and violent advancement and being wanted by Herod, but none of this directly points to Jesus taking up arms against the state, planning to take up arms against the state or inciting others to take up arms against the state or plan to take up arms against the state. Don't you see the leap there? I can’t take a quote like, “A disarmed India has no power of resistance against any aggressor if she wanted to engage, in an armed conflict with him.” and say that it is evidence that Gandhi wasn’t a supporter of non-violent, non-cooperation but rather he wanted to arm India to engage in armed conflict with aggressors, namely the English. The danger of circumstantial evidence is that it can paint a false picture. "The guy was in the area, knew the victim and shouted at him at the bar 2 days ago, so clearly he murdered him." No. Nothing is clear.

I am asking you for one thing and one thing only. You've come up with an interesting hypothesis, "Jesus was a freedom fighter." Ok. Great. Where is the direct evidence? Is that really so much to ask?

Homey, if you’ve got the evidence, I’m on your side. I’m not even joking. I really mean that.

A statement has been made. "Jesus was a terrorist." Ok. Great. What's that based on and let's scrutinise the evidence? According to you Mark, "The evidence for this is in the Bible." Ok. Great. It's time to reveal it.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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23-06-2011, 05:14 PM
RE: Jesus was a terrorist!
it's a very well made response Ghost, I'm simply stating that to get to the evidence and exploration sometimes you need to jump the gun. It would be wonderful if Mark had come here before getting an editor. He has sent me his chapter on this to look over so I will have a better understanding of his message soon.

I'm not saying that the imagination is the final part of history, but it is everything of the journey. And many times there are circumstantial claims written in books and critiqued. Sometimes like in Mark's case, spending years trying to get something evidenced lead to the desire to still mention the idea without having found the evidence. I'll look over this chapter for him to see what all is a serious evidenced postulation. I'm not arguing with you Ghost, just was worried that you were diminishing the non evidential part of history.

I'm not a non believer, I believe in the possibility of anything. I just don't let the actuality of something be determined by a 3rd party.
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23-06-2011, 09:22 PM
RE: Jesus was a terrorist!
(23-06-2011 04:29 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, Lilith.

Lilith Wrote:What do you think affords the money needed for those digs? Fascinating stories and ideas either presented by the lead anthropologist or by authors.

Sure, but they're saying, I want to investigate to find out about X or to find evidence of Y or to see if my theory Z holds up to whatever evidence we discover.

This will come up throughout the rest of my post, but, it’s all about evidence. That’s the single issue for me in all of this.

Lilith Wrote:Has Mark ever claimed himself to be a professional in the field?

That's irrelevant. If I say that I know how to turn lead into gold, I expect that one or two chemists would call me on it.

Lilith Wrote:...to simply demand he not say anything...

Slow down. I'm not saying don't say anything. I'm saying that there are standards that we all need to be responsible to.

It would be irresponsible of me to say, "if we look at the following Biblical quote: "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you" (John 6:53)" it becomes clear that Jesus was a cannibal and that he was inciting others to cannibalism.

It's perfectly fine for me to say, "I read John 6:53 the other day and I'd like an endowment to investigate cannibalism in the time of Jesus please." <holds out hat> It would be equally fine for me to say, "I've just completed a thorough investigation of Jesus' relationship to cannibalism and this is what I found and here's my evidence." It is not ok to say something is a given way and then offer circumstantial evidence.

Lilith Wrote:That period is so rife with the loss of libraries, millions of works with untold historical significance were lost. Just because some writings survived does not mean that there isn't a lot of untold history of the time.

I agree, the loss of all that knowledge is tragic. Straight up. For example. we know almost nothing about the Mayans because the Spanish burned most of their books. But that is the hell of existence. There are countless untold stories. And for as long as we have no surviving evidence of them, they are to remain untold. Otherwise, we're just inventing stories and calling it history.

Quote:The imagination is one of mankinds greatest tools for innovation. Don't sell it short.

I don't sell it short. But I acknowledge that it has limits and it has its place. You wouldn't trust a surgeon about to cut into you that said, "I imagine your intestines are something like this," and you shouldn't trust a historian who says he imagines either. Only trust those that have strong evidence.

Lilith Wrote:Plenty of huge breakthroughs exist due to someone postulating if something happened. Mark is not saying that this is a definite truth as far as I can see, and there is nothing wrong with introducing an idea to the world to either accept and research or deny and forget.

Postulating, yes. Fabricating, no. Postulating, or more to the point, hypothesising comes from evidence and it is supported by further testing and evidence. You can't just find a couple of circumstantial things and proclaim your grand discovery. That's not how it works.

I think that there's everything wrong with introducing an idea to the world when it's baseless. See the following:



Hey, Mark.

Mark Wrote:My interpretations (in my opinion) help make the history come alive, and help explain it. I accept that my interpretations may not be correct, but they get people thinking and add colour and fresh perspectives.

No they don't. Like Fox News before you, your ideas twist facts and confuse the dialogue. They insert baseless notions into the universal consciousness just like eugenics, Cesare Lombroso's Atavism and birther theory. People are still talking about racial superiority, beady little eyes and how Barak Obama is a foreign-born secret Muslim.

Method is there to protect us from wild claims masked as truth.

As for the written record thing, believe what you want. I am confident that I have the weight of the social sciences on my side.
1. 2, 3.

Of course historians interpret. But they interpret the record, not their opinions. The larger question is, if historians don't base their theories on records, then what do they base it on? Divination?

Mark Wrote:Well informed opinion that is derived from a rational assessment of the facts is very valuable. Matt, I think we are talking about degrees here. I suspect you might agree that well derived opinion is legitimate. If , for example. I state " Adolf Hitler was an evil man because his prejudices against Jews resulted in the deaths of 6 million people" I am stating an opinion based on some facts and that opinion therefore deserved to be considered. Matt, would you agree?

This is gobbledigook. Yes a well informed opinion that is derived from a rational assessment of the facts is very valuable. But I'm sorry, that's not what you've done. We are not talking about degrees. If this was a thesis, do you really think you'd survive a defence? Of course derived opinion is legitimate, but that has nothing to do with what's being discussed here. If I say, what do you base this on, and you show me Inglorious Basterds, I'd be inclined to disbelieve you. If you showed me the megatons of war records, testimonials, communications, official party policy, transportation records, corporate sales and all the other stuff that supported your theory, I'd be cool with that. You have taken a few words here and there and extrapolated an explanation that has no support.

Ok, so Jesus talks about swords and executing people and angels throwing people into fire and selling cloaks and saving lives and violent advancement and being wanted by Herod, but none of this directly points to Jesus taking up arms against the state, planning to take up arms against the state or inciting others to take up arms against the state or plan to take up arms against the state. Don't you see the leap there? I can’t take a quote like, “A disarmed India has no power of resistance against any aggressor if she wanted to engage, in an armed conflict with him.” and say that it is evidence that Gandhi wasn’t a supporter of non-violent, non-cooperation but rather he wanted to arm India to engage in armed conflict with aggressors, namely the English. The danger of circumstantial evidence is that it can paint a false picture. "The guy was in the area, knew the victim and shouted at him at the bar 2 days ago, so clearly he murdered him." No. Nothing is clear.

I am asking you for one thing and one thing only. You've come up with an interesting hypothesis, "Jesus was a freedom fighter." Ok. Great. Where is the direct evidence? Is that really so much to ask?

Homey, if you’ve got the evidence, I’m on your side. I’m not even joking. I really mean that.

A statement has been made. "Jesus was a terrorist." Ok. Great. What's that based on and let's scrutinise the evidence? According to you Mark, "The evidence for this is in the Bible." Ok. Great. It's time to reveal it.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt

Ok Matt, at the risk of repeating myself, as you've asked for the evidence i'll present it again, and some more. I do have even more, but I can'y turn this into a tome. I'm talking about evidence that Jesus' primary agenda was that of a freedom fighter. I will stick with the most direct evidence I have. Bear in mind I can't possibly give it all neatly summarised in one page. That is impossible.

Herod ordered the beheading of Jesus' cousin, John the baptist, on suspicion he was a zealot. Josephus clearly states this. We know jesus took over the leadreship of the Nazarene movement on john's death.
Luke wrote…
“Just at this time some Pharisees came up. Go away they said, leave this place, because Herod means to kill you.” (Luke 13:31 NJB). Some Pharisees obviously admired Jesus and wanted to save him. If Jesus had been a harmless religious enthusiast roaming the countryside preaching to the people about God and life, Herod would have no reason to kill him.

Herod was well known for killing people, even members of his own family, who he thought were a threat to his kingship. It is a very reasonable assumption that he considered jesus a political threat. I can't absolutely prove this, but it was well known that herod had spies in the population looking out for zealots. Remember...herod had been installed as a puppet king by Rome.

Jesus the social revolutionary said:
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he was anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor". (Luke 4.18-19). You don't release captives and the oppressed other than by force if you are a peasant with no money and no friends in high places.

Jesus said
“But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.
Woe to you were are full now, for you will be hungry…” (Luke 6;24-25). This reveals his INTENTION to change the social order.

Jesus the bellicose revolutionary said
"From the time of John the Baptist the Kingdom of heaven has been advancing violently, and the violent take it by force." (Matthew 11;12) Now it is very clear the kingdom of heaven was imagined by Jews to be a social utopia on earth. Jesus said he wanted to create that kingdom using force.

These were quite radical messages that not everyone wanted to hear
"…all in the synagogue were filled with rage. They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill... so that they might hurl him off the cliff" (Luke 4;29-30). Why such an angry reaction from some people? Jesus called for the overthrow of the social structure, and that didn’t suit the upper classes.

Jesus told his disciples
“Go nowhere among the gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matthew 10;5-6 ). This hints at Jesus' nationalism.

“Many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary and had seen what he did believed in him but some of them went to tell the Pharisees what Jesus had done. Then the chief priests and Pharisees called a meeting. Here is this man working all these signs they said and what action are we taking? If we let him go on in this way everybody will believe in him and the Romans will come and destroy our Holy place and our nation...” (John 11:45-49 NJB). The chief priests and some Pharisees were clearly worried that if Jesus got too popular the Romans would destroy the Temple and the nation of Israel. This is precisely what happened 35 years later, in 70 CE, a fact well known to the author of John.

“Great crowds of people spread their cloaks on the road, while others were cutting branches from trees spreading them in his path. The crowds who went in front of him and who followed were all shouting: Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessings on him who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heavens! And when he entered Jerusalem the whole city was in turmoil. Who is this people asked, and the crowds answered, this is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.” (Matthew 21:8-12 NJB). "Hosanna" was the ancient cry of Jewish independence. The crowds were welcoming their son of David, a true Jewish king. The average jew dreamt of a time such as King David's when there were no foreigners ruling over them.

Matthew wrote
“Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and made plans to arrest Jesus by some trick and have him put to death. They said ‘however it must not be during the festivities, there must be no disturbance among the people.” (Matthew 26:3-6 NJB). Luke wrote something similar;
“And from early morning the people would gather round him in the temple and listen to him. The feast of the unleavened bread, called the Passover, was now drawing near, and the chief priests and scribes were looking for some way of doing away with him, because they mistrusted the people.” (Luke 21:38, 22:1 NJB), followed by “And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them. But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet.” (Luke 21:45-46). Two gospel authors admitted that the chief priests thought Jesus and the people were plotting against them. Remember please who the chief priets were....they were the aristocratic class who had been given their positions by the Romans.

Matthew rather feebly suggested Jesus was ambivalent about his role as the Jewish messiah. He had Jesus state that what belonged to Caesar should be returned to Caesar (Matthew 22:19-22); in other words Jews should pay taxes to Rome. I think this was written into the gospel to stop readers making the obvious conclusion that Jesus was a zealot. It didn’t fit with what Jesus says and does elsewhere.

“Judas the traitor knew the place well, since Jesus had often met his disciples there, and he bought the cohort to this place together with a detachment of guards sent by the chief priests and Pharisees, all with lanterns and torches and weapons.” (John 18:3 J.B). Matthew called this crowd “a great multitude with swords and clubs”. Luke called them a “multitude”. Mark claimed they came “from the chief priests, the scribes and the elders.” (Mark 14:43 NJB). A cohort was a uniquely Roman term referring to 500 Roman soldiers, roughly equivalent to 40 football teams of men. Would the Romans have sent this many soldiers to arrest a benign, peace-loving preacher who thought he was God? Of course not. Jesus was a big fish with an entourage of supporters and he needed to be decisively crushed.

He is taken before Pilot and the accusation made
“We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar, saying that he himself is Christ, a King.” (Luke 23;2). Pilate asked Jesus if he is king of the Jews and Jesus answers
“it is as you say it.” (Luke 23;3). This perfectly described the whole crux of the issue; Jesus was accused of undermining the government and the taxation system and proclaiming himself a king. He effectively signed his own death warrant by admitting he thought he was king of the Jews.

The sign on Jesus’ cross, “King of the Jews,” stated his real crime, and was written by Pilate, who knew Jesus was a revolutionary.

Consider what Luke has a follower of Jesus saying shortly after the crucifixion;
“Our own hope had been that he would be the one to set Israel free….” (Luke 24:21 NJB).

Ok....some new stuff....please be patient as I set the scene...

The loss of two leaders in close succession, John the Baptist and then Jesus must have devastated their supporters. Matthew and John have the disciples going back to Galilee, yet Acts and Luke have the risen Jesus telling them not to leave Jerusalem. They either left Jerusalem or they didn’t, but they couldn’t have done both. What is clear is that over the next few decades there was a strong contingent of Jesus supporters living in Jerusalem.

There is no doubt Jerusalem was a hostile, dangerous place. Jesus had been crucified there. The Sadducees and a garrison of Roman troops, their sworn enemies, were there. They moved to Jerusalem because they believed in a kingdom of God on earth, and they knew that this could only have its birthplace in Jerusalem. Luke explains that this dream was still a general expectation amongst the supporters of Jesus when, in the first chapter of Acts, the resurrected Jesus appears:
“Now having met together, they asked him, 'Lord, has the time come? Are you going to restore the kingdom of Israel?' He replied, 'It is not for you to know times or dates that the Father has decided by his own authority, but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and then you will be my witnesses not only in Jerusalem but throughout Judea and Samaria, and indeed to the ends of the earth'.” (Acts 1:9-12 NJB). Luke was writing 80+ years after Jesus’ death to a gentile audience. The second coming of Jesus hadn’t happened, however he wanted his readers to think it was still going to happen sometime in the future, but they better not hold their breath. This was in marked contrast to what Paul wrote in the early 50’s when he told his readers the second coming was imminent and there was not much point living as they normally would.

These people, led by an inspirational James, called themselves “saints” or followers of “the way” or “the faithful” or “disciples” or “the poor” or the “children of light”. They were also known as Nazarenes. The Nazarenes were an Essenian sect with zealot aspirations. Jesus too had been a Nazarene, as stated in the Bible. Acts referred to
“...Jesus Christ the Nazarene...” (Acts 3:6, 4:10, 2:22, 6:14, 22:8, 26:9 NJB)
Most modern Christians assume the term “Nazarene” referred to the fact that Jesus came from the village of Nazareth. This was what Matthew claimed (Matthew 2:23), but this was not the genuine origin of the term. On nearly every occasion that Jesus was referred to in the Gospels as being of Nazareth, the words “of Nazareth” should actually read “the Nazarene”. Nazareth the village almost certainly did not exist in Jesus' time or at the time the Gospels were first written. The attempt to make Jesus “of Nazareth” was a ploy to distract from his sectarian affiliations. The Bible even stated the term “Nazarene” referred to a sect. In the book of Acts, Tertullus, an ally of the Sadducees, accused Paul 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)

The family, disciples and followers of the flesh and blood Jesus were Nazarenes. The “pillars” Paul refers to were the leaders of this group. They were not Christians. They practiced circumcision, believed in baptism and repentance as taught by John the Baptist and were strict about the Sabbath. They were vegetarians who didn't approve of the slaughter of animals for either food or sacrifice. They called each other brothers and sisters, and developed their own “Halacha”, which was their own interpretation of the Torah. They believed that Jesus was a very human prophet who had been killed, but they hoped he was going to return soon as the messiah of Israel to establish the Kingdom of God on earth. They were true believers in the power and glory of Israel, saw themselves as God's chosen people and were strongly opposed to the Romans who they believed were working for Satan. They were willing to take the Romans on, and had lost John the Baptist and Jesus in doing so. That was why the Roman world considered any member of the Nazarenes “a pest” who “stirs up trouble among Jews the world over”.

James was their king. Leadership was inherited from blood relations, which explains the leadership passing from John the Baptist to Jesus and on to James. James and the other Nazarenes believed Jesus was the Jewish messiah of Israel, although yet to prove himself by returning from the dead to defeat the Romans and set up the Kingdom of God. They did not believe he was the Son of God or that he had risen from the dead. Nor did they believe the crucifixion of Jesus was intended to save anyone from their sins, but a despicable act of the Roman enemy.

The Nazarenes saw themselves as preparing “the way” for the return of Yahweh as described in Isaiah 40-66. Some early church fathers claim the Nazarenes wrote an early Hebrew version of Matthew’s gospel, one without the pro gentile changes. That would definitely have made an interesting read, but not surprisingly no copy has survived. It would bear only a passing resemblance to what has become today’s gospel of Matthew.

Douglas Lockhart believes the Nazarenes had boosted their numbers to about 8000 by recruiting Jews at the time James died in 62 CE. Some Nazarenes were sent out as missionaries to nearby cities. Peter was one such missionary and he went to Antioch. These missionaries even got as far as Rome. It was the Nazarenes who founded and ran the original community in Rome, the one that Paul wrote to in an attempt to introduce himself in his famous letter to the Romans.

James’ Murder...
Luke finishes off Acts with Paul in prison in Rome in 60 CE, so he avoids discussing James’ death in 62 CE or any of the events in the decades afterwards. Luke wants his readers to forget the Nazarenes. They were not part of the new movement he was trying to promote.

Josephus, on the other hand, was a secular historian with no knowledge of a Christian agenda, and he wrote about the demise of James in 62 CE:
“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 favourable 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.”
James was murdered by an out of line Ananus, the High Priest who had been given the job only three months earlier. James had always been a threat to the Sadducees, just like his brother Jesus before him, and Ananus took advantage of a temporary absence of Roman supervision to get rid of him. Incidentally, the phrase “the brother of Jesus, the one called Christ” is a well-known Christian interpolation.

James became the third Nazarene leader to be murdered, yet the first to be killed by Jews rather than Romans. This upset the people, because he was very popular. The Romans, who were trying to keep the peace, were not impressed with this inflammatory act and removed Ananus from his post as High Priest. They had a difficult time sorting out squabbles amongst the Jews.

Simeon, a second brother [sic “cousin” according to Hegesippus] of Jesus, took over the leadership of the Jerusalem-based movement following James’ stoning.


OK Matt...the story continues with the massive first Jewish war. What I have tried to do is give you some sense of the antagonism between the gentile world and the Jews that was an undoubted feature of the history of the times. When I say "the Jews" I'm talking about the poorer classes, particularly in rural Palestine, and particularly in Galilee. ( there were hundreds of thousands of Jews in the diaspora, but generally speaking they were less likely to cause trouble for the government)There is good evidence in the bible that Jesus was very much in the middle of this. He was one of the leaders of a very nationalist fundamentalist xenophobic group called the Nazarenes. His cousin John had preceeded him as leader and his brother James took over on his death.

The relationship between Jews and Romans in the years before, during and after Jesus is an extremely important topic as it places the whole Jesus story into context.
Robert Eisenman, in his exhaustively researched and very detailed book “James, Brother of Jesus” presents a sensible assessment of Jesus’ time and the decades afterwards. He divides Palestine into two power blocks: the rulers and the populists. The rulers were the Romans, and those who had been given power by them. They included the Herodian puppet dynasty, the Sadducees, the Sanhedrin, the collaborationist Pharisees and the gentiles, which included Paul’s Christians. The populists were the native population, most of who to varying degrees were opposed to Roman domination. They included the Nazarenes, the Qumran community (writers of the Dead Sea Scrolls), and various other groups including other Essenes and Zealots whose exact delineations and relationships will probably never be clarified. United under the influence of James, they opposed the Roman establishment. Eisenman portrays James as a xenophobic fundamentalist Jewish figure. He was quite probably, in his own time and amongst his own people, a more significant figure than Jesus.

The Dead Sea Scrolls substantiate the Jewish perspective of a people living under harsh and brutal Roman domination, but there was more to the antagonism towards Romans than just the political and economic suppression of Jews. They were an intensely proud people who imagined themselves as God’s special people on earth. Many of them considered it their duty to inform the world about the power and majesty of their God and bring all nations under his authority. Jews wanted to be what the Romans actually were; the people at the top that bought peace and order to humanity. They grossly over-estimated their own importance and their own abilities because they had almost no history of any long-lasting successful government, no well-disciplined army organised enough to be effective, and were notorious for fighting amongst themselves. They had their heads in the clouds dreaming about a messiah who would create the kingdom of God on earth. They had an invisible mythical Yahweh, whereas the Romans had a very real and effective Caesar.

Eisenman and other eminent scholars, including Douglas Lockhart, claim copies of James’ sermons are to be found in the Dead Sea Scrolls thundering against "the Enemy" and "the Liar," referring to someone daring to teach dogma at odds with the traditions of observant Jews. There is only one likely person James could be referring to and that is Paul, whom James would have considered a traitor and an agent of the Roman establishment. It is ironic that Jesus’ brother referred to the creator of Christian theology as a liar. Paul himself was aware that he was a liar. He wrote
“For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner?” (Romans 3:7, KJB). No wonder the Vatican diligently policed the interpretation of the Dead Sea scrolls in the decades after their discovery. If someone made a good movie based on these historical facts about Jesus, Paul and James it would surely be a mind-bending blockbuster that would rock the Christian establishment.

“Jesus” is a Gentile Creation. The real Jesus was not the preacher of ethics he is portrayed as in the Bible. He was a man whose primary agenda was the establishment of a Jewish Kingdom of God in Palestine. The stories in the Gospels of him eating with tax collectors, who were working for the Roman government, were designed to make him pro-gentile. On occasions in the Gospels he denigrated aspects of Jewish law, which no true Jew would ever do, so this was fictional too. The benign preacher who claimed he wasn’t a zealot and was murdered at the insistence of a Jewish crowd is a fabrication by Gentile authors and interpolators so that the story undermined Jesus as king of the Jews and appealed to a Gentile audience.
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23-06-2011, 11:25 PM
RE: Jesus was a terrorist!
Hey, Mark.

Ok. I'm gonna go through this and give my opinion about the strength of the evidence in terms of it's ability or inability to support this statement: "...Jesus' primary agenda was that of a freedom fighter."Let's see what happens.

Mark Wrote:Herod ordered the beheading of Jesus' cousin, John the baptist, on suspicion he was a zealot. Josephus clearly states this. We know jesus took over the leadreship of the Nazarene movement on john's death.
Luke wrote…
“Just at this time some Pharisees came up. Go away they said, leave this place, because Herod means to kill you.” (Luke 13:31 NJB). Some Pharisees obviously admired Jesus and wanted to save him. If Jesus had been a harmless religious enthusiast roaming the countryside preaching to the people about God and life, Herod would have no reason to kill him.

Herod was well known for killing people, even members of his own family, who he thought were a threat to his kingship. It is a very reasonable assumption that he considered jesus a political threat. I can't absolutely prove this, but it was well known that herod had spies in the population looking out for zealots. Remember...herod had been installed as a puppet king by Rome.

John’s beheading has no causal link to Jesus’ freedom fighting nor does leading the Nazarene movement.

You admit that Herod killed anyone that constituted a threat but you imply that religious enthusiasm cannot be considered a threat; therefore, the threat must have been more direct, ie, freedom fighting and you support that leap by mentioning that Herod was looking for zelots. I think that’s too big a leap.

Mark Wrote:Jesus the social revolutionary said:
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he was anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor". (Luke 4.18-19). You don't release captives and the oppressed other than by force if you are a peasant with no money and no friends in high places.

That position is insupportable. MLK and Ghandi did exactly that, we have clear historical documentation of that fact. There is no reason to assume that Jesus’ mandate required force.

Quote:Jesus said
“But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.
Woe to you were are full now, for you will be hungry…” (Luke 6;24-25). This reveals his INTENTION to change the social order.

Changing the social order does not require force.

This looks like it will come up again, so I want to make the blanket statement that your evidence fails where it assumes force is required to effect what Jesus has said when it does not require force.

Mark Wrote:Jesus the bellicose revolutionary said
"From the time of John the Baptist the Kingdom of heaven has been advancing violently, and the violent take it by force." (Matthew 11;12) Now it is very clear the kingdom of heaven was imagined by Jews to be a social utopia on earth. Jesus said he wanted to create that kingdom using force.

That link is not apparent to me. Could you elaborate? For my part, I don’t feel that I quite understand the quote.

Mark Wrote:These were quite radical messages that not everyone wanted to hear
"…all in the synagogue were filled with rage. They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill... so that they might hurl him off the cliff" (Luke 4;29-30). Why such an angry reaction from some people? Jesus called for the overthrow of the social structure, and that didn’t suit the upper classes.

We cannot assume that their anger stems from Jesus suggesting insurrection. That’s a leap that has no direct evidence. All we know is that something he said pissed them off. Is there evidence of what he actually said?

Mark Wrote:Jesus told his disciples
“Go nowhere among the gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matthew 10;5-6 ). This hints at Jesus' nationalism.

He had a target audience. Even if he was a fervent nationalist (a term that had no meaning in his time), nationalism does not lead inexorably to insurrection. I live in Quebec. About half the population are nationalist separatists and almost none of them support insurrection (there has only been one instance of significant insurrection here). Is there any indication why he ordered them to skip the gentiles and the Samaritans?

Mark Wrote:“Many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary and had seen what he did believed in him but some of them went to tell the Pharisees what Jesus had done. Then the chief priests and Pharisees called a meeting. Here is this man working all these signs they said and what action are we taking? If we let him go on in this way everybody will believe in him and the Romans will come and destroy our Holy place and our nation...” (John 11:45-49 NJB). The chief priests and some Pharisees were clearly worried that if Jesus got too popular the Romans would destroy the Temple and the nation of Israel. This is precisely what happened 35 years later, in 70 CE, a fact well known to the author of John.

This has no link to anything. Is there evidence that the destruction of the temple was in retaliation for insurrection? Is there any evidence that the Pharisees believed Jesus was planning an insurrection?

Mark Wrote:“Great crowds of people spread their cloaks on the road, while others were cutting branches from trees spreading them in his path. The crowds who went in front of him and who followed were all shouting: Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessings on him who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heavens! And when he entered Jerusalem the whole city was in turmoil. Who is this people asked, and the crowds answered, this is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.” (Matthew 21:8-12 NJB). "Hosanna" was the ancient cry of Jewish independence. The crowds were welcoming their son of David, a true Jewish king. The average jew dreamt of a time such as King David's when there were no foreigners ruling over them.

I feel that you’re trying to draw a direct link between a desire for independence and self-rule and the necessity of the use of force to accomplish this.

Mark Wrote:Matthew wrote

I most certainly did not… oh right… that Matthew. Mooooooving right along…

Mark Wrote:Matthew wrote
“Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and made plans to arrest Jesus by some trick and have him put to death. They said ‘however it must not be during the festivities, there must be no disturbance among the people.” (Matthew 26:3-6 NJB). Luke wrote something similar;
“And from early morning the people would gather round him in the temple and listen to him. The feast of the unleavened bread, called the Passover, was now drawing near, and the chief priests and scribes were looking for some way of doing away with him, because they mistrusted the people.” (Luke 21:38, 22:1 NJB), followed by “And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them. But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet.” (Luke 21:45-46). Two gospel authors admitted that the chief priests thought Jesus and the people were plotting against them. Remember please who the chief priets were....they were the aristocratic class who had been given their positions by the Romans.

Speaking out against a group does not mean that you are inciting violence. I speak out against corporations all the time, but I’ve never bombed a McDonalds.

Is there any evidence that what he spake of was a call to arms against the Pharisees? Do we know if their perception that he was talking about them is accureate?

Also, I see no evidence of Jesus plotting against them. Speaking out against them, yes, but it seems that they were the ones plotting against Jesus. And I don’t see evidence of the people plotting against them. They do seem to think that if they just killed Jesus, the crowd would kill them for it. Am I missing something about this plot?

Mark Wrote:Matthew rather feebly suggested Jesus was ambivalent about his role as the Jewish messiah. He had Jesus state that what belonged to Caesar should be returned to Caesar (Matthew 22:19-22); in other words Jews should pay taxes to Rome. I think this was written into the gospel to stop readers making the obvious conclusion that Jesus was a zealot. It didn’t fit with what Jesus says and does elsewhere.

“Feebly suggested” is a characterisation without supporting evidence.

I can’t imagine that’s the Biblical quote but it seems credited to Matthew 22. What am I missing here?

I find it difficult to lend credence to the idea that it was written in. I’m not sure what you base this assumption on.

Mark Wrote:“Judas the traitor knew the place well, since Jesus had often met his disciples there, and he bought the cohort to this place together with a detachment of guards sent by the chief priests and Pharisees, all with lanterns and torches and weapons.” (John 18:3 J.B). Matthew called this crowd “a great multitude with swords and clubs”. Luke called them a “multitude”. Mark claimed they came “from the chief priests, the scribes and the elders.” (Mark 14:43 NJB). A cohort was a uniquely Roman term referring to 500 Roman soldiers, roughly equivalent to 40 football teams of men. Would the Romans have sent this many soldiers to arrest a benign, peace-loving preacher who thought he was God? Of course not. Jesus was a big fish with an entourage of supporters and he needed to be decisively crushed.

That’s a gigantic “of course not”. How many would they have sent? 250? 50? 10? 3? 1? Are you aware or are you just assuming it’s not 500? Was there a smaller functioning Roman unit that the could have sent instead of a full cohort?

You assume that the numbers were due to the fact that they must have expected Jesus to fight back, but there’s no evidence of that.

What does decisively crushed mean? You were quite clear that they went there to arrest Jesus. That’s a different act than crushing him. You also previously established that Jesus’ followers would likely protect him. So if he did have an entourage, it could explain why they went there with so many men (but that’s conjecture).

Mark Wrote:He is taken before Pilot and the accusation made
“We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar, saying that he himself is Christ, a King.” (Luke 23;2). Pilate asked Jesus if he is king of the Jews and Jesus answers
“it is as you say it.” (Luke 23;3). This perfectly described the whole crux of the issue; Jesus was accused of undermining the government and the taxation system and proclaiming himself a king. He effectively signed his own death warrant by admitting he thought he was king of the Jews.

The sign on Jesus’ cross, “King of the Jews,” stated his real crime, and was written by Pilate, who knew Jesus was a revolutionary.

Ok. I’m with you when you say Jesus was engaged in civil disobedience. That seems clear. I’m with you when you say he was undermining the government. That seems equally clear. The signing his own death warrant seems irrelevant.

Then you make a giant leap, saying that Pilate knew Jesus was a revolutionary. First of all, is revolutionary a synonymn for freedom fighter, ie, do they exercise force, or is a revolutionary anti-government, or anit-Roman or anti-cooperation, ie, do they employ peaceful means? Second, how did he know that? I mean, if revolutionary just means anti-government, then yeah, that’s explained in the quote. But if it means freedom fighter or insurrectionist, then there’s no mention of it in the quotes provided.

Mark Wrote:Consider what Luke has a follower of Jesus saying shortly after the crucifixion;
“Our own hope had been that he would be the one to set Israel free….” (Luke 24:21 NJB).

I’ve addressed this one previously. It strikes me that this too relies on the assumption that setting people free requires force absolutely. This is not the case. Is there evidence that Jesus tried to use force?

Mark Wrote:Ok....some new stuff....please be patient as I set the scene...

I’m with ya, brother.

Mark Wrote:The loss of two leaders in close succession, John the Baptist and then Jesus must have devastated their supporters. Matthew and John have the disciples going back to Galilee, yet Acts and Luke have the risen Jesus telling them not to leave Jerusalem. They either left Jerusalem or they didn’t, but they couldn’t have done both. What is clear is that over the next few decades there was a strong contingent of Jesus supporters living in Jerusalem.

There is no doubt Jerusalem was a hostile, dangerous place. Jesus had been crucified there. The Sadducees and a garrison of Roman troops, their sworn enemies, were there. They moved to Jerusalem because they believed in a kingdom of God on earth, and they knew that this could only have its birthplace in Jerusalem. Luke explains that this dream was still a general expectation amongst the supporters of Jesus when, in the first chapter of Acts, the resurrected Jesus appears:
“Now having met together, they asked him, 'Lord, has the time come? Are you going to restore the kingdom of Israel?' He replied, 'It is not for you to know times or dates that the Father has decided by his own authority, but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and then you will be my witnesses not only in Jerusalem but throughout Judea and Samaria, and indeed to the ends of the earth'.” (Acts 1:9-12 NJB). Luke was writing 80+ years after Jesus’ death to a gentile audience. The second coming of Jesus hadn’t happened, however he wanted his readers to think it was still going to happen sometime in the future, but they better not hold their breath. This was in marked contrast to what Paul wrote in the early 50’s when he told his readers the second coming was imminent and there was not much point living as they normally would.

I admit, an interesting proof that there were discrepancies between Luke and Paul’s accounts and I must admit, a not implausible theory about Luke’s motivations, although I would like to see further evidence. I don’t see what this has to do with Jesus the freedom fighter though.

Mark Wrote:These people, led by an inspirational James, called themselves “saints” or followers of “the way” or “the faithful” or “disciples” or “the poor” or the “children of light”. They were also known as Nazarenes. The Nazarenes were an Essenian sect with zealot aspirations.

Two questions. 1 – What is the evidence of their zealot aspirations? 2 – What exactly do you mean by zealot?

Mark Wrote:Jesus too had been a Nazarene, as stated in the Bible. Acts referred to
“...Jesus Christ the Nazarene...” (Acts 3:6, 4:10, 2:22, 6:14, 22:8, 26:9 NJB)

Is this guilt by association?

Mark Wrote:Most modern Christians assume the term “Nazarene” referred to the fact that Jesus came from the village of Nazareth. This was what Matthew claimed (Matthew 2:23), but this was not the genuine origin of the term. On nearly every occasion that Jesus was referred to in the Gospels as being of Nazareth, the words “of Nazareth” should actually read “the Nazarene”. Nazareth the village almost certainly did not exist in Jesus' time or at the time the Gospels were first written. The attempt to make Jesus “of Nazareth” was a ploy to distract from his sectarian affiliations. The Bible even stated the term “Nazarene” referred to a sect. In the book of Acts, Tertullus, an ally of the Sadducees, accused Paul 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 interesting and plausible argument.

Mark Wrote:The family, disciples and followers of the flesh and blood Jesus were Nazarenes. The “pillars” Paul refers to were the leaders of this group. They were not Christians.

This requires some backing up.

Mark Wrote:They practiced circumcision, believed in baptism and repentance as taught by John the Baptist and were strict about the Sabbath. They were vegetarians who didn't approve of the slaughter of animals for either food or sacrifice. They called each other brothers and sisters, and developed their own “Halacha”, which was their own interpretation of the Torah. They believed that Jesus was a very human prophet who had been killed, but they hoped he was going to return soon as the messiah of Israel to establish the Kingdom of God on earth. They were true believers in the power and glory of Israel, saw themselves as God's chosen people and were strongly opposed to the Romans who they believed were working for Satan. They were willing to take the Romans on, and had lost John the Baptist and Jesus in doing so. That was why the Roman world considered any member of the Nazarenes “a pest” who “stirs up trouble among Jews the world over”.

I would like to see sources for these qualities you attribute to the Nazareens, but I’m willing to give you the benefit of the doubt, primarily because it seems pretty thorough.

What do you mean by willing to take the Romans on? Whatever your answer, that could use some support.

Mark Wrote:James was their king. Leadership was inherited from blood relations, which explains the leadership passing from John the Baptist to Jesus and on to James. James and the other Nazarenes believed Jesus was the Jewish messiah of Israel, although yet to prove himself by returning from the dead to defeat the Romans and set up the Kingdom of God. They did not believe he was the Son of God or that he had risen from the dead. Nor did they believe the crucifixion of Jesus was intended to save anyone from their sins, but a despicable act of the Roman enemy.

The Nazarenes saw themselves as preparing “the way” for the return of Yahweh as described in Isaiah 40-66. Some early church fathers claim the Nazarenes wrote an early Hebrew version of Matthew’s gospel, one without the pro gentile changes. That would definitely have made an interesting read, but not surprisingly no copy has survived. It would bear only a passing resemblance to what has become today’s gospel of Matthew.

Douglas Lockhart believes the Nazarenes had boosted their numbers to about 8000 by recruiting Jews at the time James died in 62 CE. Some Nazarenes were sent out as missionaries to nearby cities. Peter was one such missionary and he went to Antioch. These missionaries even got as far as Rome. It was the Nazarenes who founded and ran the original community in Rome, the one that Paul wrote to in an attempt to introduce himself in his famous letter to the Romans.

This is all very interesting, but since it all occurs after Jesus’ death, I don’t see what it has to do with Jesus the freedom fighter.

Mark Wrote:James’ Murder...
Luke finishes off Acts with Paul in prison in Rome in 60 CE, so he avoids discussing James’ death in 62 CE or any of the events in the decades afterwards. Luke wants his readers to forget the Nazarenes. They were not part of the new movement he was trying to promote.

Again, be that as it may, Luke’s motivations seem irrelevant.

Mark Wrote:Josephus, on the other hand, was a secular historian with no knowledge of a Christian agenda, and he wrote about the demise of James in 62 CE:
“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 favourable 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.”
James was murdered by an out of line Ananus, the High Priest who had been given the job only three months earlier. James had always been a threat to the Sadducees, just like his brother Jesus before him, and Ananus took advantage of a temporary absence of Roman supervision to get rid of him. Incidentally, the phrase “the brother of Jesus, the one called Christ” is a well-known Christian interpolation.

So…. Are you using this to show that because Luke and Paul had conflicting accounts and because Luke ignored James’ murder that we have reason to believe that at least Luke made other decisions about what went into his accounts based on political motivations and the demands of expanding the faith?

Mark Wrote:James became the third Nazarene leader to be murdered, yet the first to be killed by Jews rather than Romans. This upset the people, because he was very popular. The Romans, who were trying to keep the peace, were not impressed with this inflammatory act and removed Ananus from his post as High Priest. They had a difficult time sorting out squabbles amongst the Jews.

Simeon, a second brother [sic “cousin” according to Hegesippus] of Jesus, took over the leadership of the Jerusalem-based movement following James’ stoning.

Not sure what this has to do with it.

Mark Wrote:OK Matt...the story continues with the massive first Jewish war. What I have tried to do is give you some sense of the antagonism between the gentile world and the Jews that was an undoubted feature of the history of the times. When I say "the Jews" I'm talking about the poorer classes, particularly in rural Palestine, and particularly in Galilee. ( there were hundreds of thousands of Jews in the diaspora, but generally speaking they were less likely to cause trouble for the government)There is good evidence in the bible that Jesus was very much in the middle of this. He was one of the leaders of a very nationalist fundamentalist xenophobic group called the Nazarenes. His cousin John had preceeded him as leader and his brother James took over on his death.

Again, guilt by association.

They weren’t nationalists because that’s a modern term. You need to be careful about things like that.

Also, you’ve characterised this group.

Mark Wrote:The relationship between Jews and Romans in the years before, during and after Jesus is an extremely important topic as it places the whole Jesus story into context.

True, but there is no causal relationship between that context and Jesus’ actions, as I illustrated with my MLK/Black Panther Party analogy.

Mark Wrote:Robert Eisenman, in his exhaustively researched and very detailed book “James, Brother of Jesus” presents a sensible assessment of Jesus’ time and the decades afterwards. He divides Palestine into two power blocks: the rulers and the populists. The rulers were the Romans, and those who had been given power by them. They included the Herodian puppet dynasty, the Sadducees, the Sanhedrin, the collaborationist Pharisees and the gentiles, which included Paul’s Christians. The populists were the native population, most of who to varying degrees were opposed to Roman domination. They included the Nazarenes, the Qumran community (writers of the Dead Sea Scrolls), and various other groups including other Essenes and Zealots whose exact delineations and relationships will probably never be clarified. United under the influence of James, they opposed the Roman establishment. Eisenman portrays James as a xenophobic fundamentalist Jewish figure. He was quite probably, in his own time and amongst his own people, a more significant figure than Jesus.

But you’re talking about James, not Jesus.

That being said, here you’ve provided a verifiable source. That’s the sort of thing I’m looking for.

Mark Wrote:The Dead Sea Scrolls substantiate the Jewish perspective of a people living under harsh and brutal Roman domination, but there was more to the antagonism towards Romans than just the political and economic suppression of Jews. They were an intensely proud people who imagined themselves as God’s special people on earth. Many of them considered it their duty to inform the world about the power and majesty of their God and bring all nations under his authority. Jews wanted to be what the Romans actually were; the people at the top that bought peace and order to humanity. They grossly over-estimated their own importance and their own abilities because they had almost no history of any long-lasting successful government, no well-disciplined army organised enough to be effective, and were notorious for fighting amongst themselves. They had their heads in the clouds dreaming about a messiah who would create the kingdom of God on earth. They had an invisible mythical Yahweh, whereas the Romans had a very real and effective Caesar.

Again, good verifiable source, ie, the Dead Sea Scrolls. The issue is, the Jewish people is not Jesus.

The rest of it… it’s kinda borderline, if ya know what I mean.

Mark Wrote:Eisenman and other eminent scholars, including Douglas Lockhart, claim copies of James’ sermons are to be found in the Dead Sea Scrolls thundering against "the Enemy" and "the Liar," referring to someone daring to teach dogma at odds with the traditions of observant Jews. There is only one likely person James could be referring to and that is Paul, whom James would have considered a traitor and an agent of the Roman establishment. It is ironic that Jesus’ brother referred to the creator of Christian theology as a liar. Paul himself was aware that he was a liar. He wrote
“For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner?” (Romans 3:7, KJB). No wonder the Vatican diligently policed the interpretation of the Dead Sea scrolls in the decades after their discovery. If someone made a good movie based on these historical facts about Jesus, Paul and James it would surely be a mind-bending blockbuster that would rock the Christian establishment.

Ok. Jesus appears nowhere in this quote and suddenly there’s enough facts about him for a movie.

Mark Wrote:“Jesus” is a Gentile Creation. The real Jesus was not the preacher of ethics he is portrayed as in the Bible. He was a man whose primary agenda was the establishment of a Jewish Kingdom of God in Palestine. The stories in the Gospels of him eating with tax collectors, who were working for the Roman government, were designed to make him pro-gentile. On occasions in the Gospels he denigrated aspects of Jewish law, which no true Jew would ever do, so this was fictional too. The benign preacher who claimed he wasn’t a zealot and was murdered at the insistence of a Jewish crowd is a fabrication by Gentile authors and interpolators so that the story undermined Jesus as king of the Jews and appealed to a Gentile audience.

Ah, I finally see your thrust. Jesus was a gentile-hating Jew, not a fluffy hippy.

I don’t think that you’ve demonstrated that, but I do see what you’re getting at.

I think the only link you’ve shown was something I asked about way at the top, where he asked his followers to skip the gentiles. Other than that, everything seems pretty circumstantial and based on guilt by association.

I think by and large you made a number of leaps from quote to theory that I don’t feel were supported by the quotes or by any secondary sources.

I don’t know, I wanted to say at least once how you showed direct evidence, primarily because I didn’t want to be seen as just ripping on your stuff for the sake of ripping on it, but I gotta say, I didn’t really see any direct evidence.

I think that you need to separate this into three ideas:
-Motivations for rewriting the Bible to appease gentiles
-Jesus the gentile-hater and how that applies to Romans
-Jesus undertaking acts of insurgency

The last point is really your meat and the other two are just there to make it plausible. But I don’t think that you demonstrated any of them. Sorry.

I do hope you can clear up some of my questions though.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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25-06-2011, 07:29 AM
RE: Jesus was a terrorist!
(23-06-2011 11:25 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, Mark.

Ok. I'm gonna go through this and give my opinion about the strength of the evidence in terms of it's ability or inability to support this statement: "...Jesus' primary agenda was that of a freedom fighter."Let's see what happens.

Mark Wrote:Herod ordered the beheading of Jesus' cousin, John the baptist, on suspicion he was a zealot. Josephus clearly states this. We know jesus took over the leadreship of the Nazarene movement on john's death.
Luke wrote…
“Just at this time some Pharisees came up. Go away they said, leave this place, because Herod means to kill you.” (Luke 13:31 NJB). Some Pharisees obviously admired Jesus and wanted to save him. If Jesus had been a harmless religious enthusiast roaming the countryside preaching to the people about God and life, Herod would have no reason to kill him.

Herod was well known for killing people, even members of his own family, who he thought were a threat to his kingship. It is a very reasonable assumption that he considered jesus a political threat. I can't absolutely prove this, but it was well known that herod had spies in the population looking out for zealots. Remember...herod had been installed as a puppet king by Rome.

John’s beheading has no causal link to Jesus’ freedom fighting nor does leading the Nazarene movement.

You admit that Herod killed anyone that constituted a threat but you imply that religious enthusiasm cannot be considered a threat; therefore, the threat must have been more direct, ie, freedom fighting and you support that leap by mentioning that Herod was looking for zelots. I think that’s too big a leap.

Mark Wrote:Jesus the social revolutionary said:
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he was anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor". (Luke 4.18-19). You don't release captives and the oppressed other than by force if you are a peasant with no money and no friends in high places.

That position is insupportable. MLK and Ghandi did exactly that, we have clear historical documentation of that fact. There is no reason to assume that Jesus’ mandate required force.

Quote:Jesus said
“But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.
Woe to you were are full now, for you will be hungry…” (Luke 6;24-25). This reveals his INTENTION to change the social order.

Changing the social order does not require force.

This looks like it will come up again, so I want to make the blanket statement that your evidence fails where it assumes force is required to effect what Jesus has said when it does not require force.

Mark Wrote:Jesus the bellicose revolutionary said
"From the time of John the Baptist the Kingdom of heaven has been advancing violently, and the violent take it by force." (Matthew 11;12) Now it is very clear the kingdom of heaven was imagined by Jews to be a social utopia on earth. Jesus said he wanted to create that kingdom using force.

That link is not apparent to me. Could you elaborate? For my part, I don’t feel that I quite understand the quote.

Mark Wrote:These were quite radical messages that not everyone wanted to hear
"…all in the synagogue were filled with rage. They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill... so that they might hurl him off the cliff" (Luke 4;29-30). Why such an angry reaction from some people? Jesus called for the overthrow of the social structure, and that didn’t suit the upper classes.

We cannot assume that their anger stems from Jesus suggesting insurrection. That’s a leap that has no direct evidence. All we know is that something he said pissed them off. Is there evidence of what he actually said?

Mark Wrote:Jesus told his disciples
“Go nowhere among the gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matthew 10;5-6 ). This hints at Jesus' nationalism.

He had a target audience. Even if he was a fervent nationalist (a term that had no meaning in his time), nationalism does not lead inexorably to insurrection. I live in Quebec. About half the population are nationalist separatists and almost none of them support insurrection (there has only been one instance of significant insurrection here). Is there any indication why he ordered them to skip the gentiles and the Samaritans?

Mark Wrote:“Many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary and had seen what he did believed in him but some of them went to tell the Pharisees what Jesus had done. Then the chief priests and Pharisees called a meeting. Here is this man working all these signs they said and what action are we taking? If we let him go on in this way everybody will believe in him and the Romans will come and destroy our Holy place and our nation...” (John 11:45-49 NJB). The chief priests and some Pharisees were clearly worried that if Jesus got too popular the Romans would destroy the Temple and the nation of Israel. This is precisely what happened 35 years later, in 70 CE, a fact well known to the author of John.

This has no link to anything. Is there evidence that the destruction of the temple was in retaliation for insurrection? Is there any evidence that the Pharisees believed Jesus was planning an insurrection?

Mark Wrote:“Great crowds of people spread their cloaks on the road, while others were cutting branches from trees spreading them in his path. The crowds who went in front of him and who followed were all shouting: Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessings on him who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heavens! And when he entered Jerusalem the whole city was in turmoil. Who is this people asked, and the crowds answered, this is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.” (Matthew 21:8-12 NJB). "Hosanna" was the ancient cry of Jewish independence. The crowds were welcoming their son of David, a true Jewish king. The average jew dreamt of a time such as King David's when there were no foreigners ruling over them.

I feel that you’re trying to draw a direct link between a desire for independence and self-rule and the necessity of the use of force to accomplish this.

Mark Wrote:Matthew wrote

I most certainly did not… oh right… that Matthew. Mooooooving right along…

Mark Wrote:Matthew wrote
“Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and made plans to arrest Jesus by some trick and have him put to death. They said ‘however it must not be during the festivities, there must be no disturbance among the people.” (Matthew 26:3-6 NJB). Luke wrote something similar;
“And from early morning the people would gather round him in the temple and listen to him. The feast of the unleavened bread, called the Passover, was now drawing near, and the chief priests and scribes were looking for some way of doing away with him, because they mistrusted the people.” (Luke 21:38, 22:1 NJB), followed by “And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them. But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet.” (Luke 21:45-46). Two gospel authors admitted that the chief priests thought Jesus and the people were plotting against them. Remember please who the chief priets were....they were the aristocratic class who had been given their positions by the Romans.

Speaking out against a group does not mean that you are inciting violence. I speak out against corporations all the time, but I’ve never bombed a McDonalds.

Is there any evidence that what he spake of was a call to arms against the Pharisees? Do we know if their perception that he was talking about them is accureate?

Also, I see no evidence of Jesus plotting against them. Speaking out against them, yes, but it seems that they were the ones plotting against Jesus. And I don’t see evidence of the people plotting against them. They do seem to think that if they just killed Jesus, the crowd would kill them for it. Am I missing something about this plot?

Mark Wrote:Matthew rather feebly suggested Jesus was ambivalent about his role as the Jewish messiah. He had Jesus state that what belonged to Caesar should be returned to Caesar (Matthew 22:19-22); in other words Jews should pay taxes to Rome. I think this was written into the gospel to stop readers making the obvious conclusion that Jesus was a zealot. It didn’t fit with what Jesus says and does elsewhere.

“Feebly suggested” is a characterisation without supporting evidence.

I can’t imagine that’s the Biblical quote but it seems credited to Matthew 22. What am I missing here?

I find it difficult to lend credence to the idea that it was written in. I’m not sure what you base this assumption on.

Mark Wrote:“Judas the traitor knew the place well, since Jesus had often met his disciples there, and he bought the cohort to this place together with a detachment of guards sent by the chief priests and Pharisees, all with lanterns and torches and weapons.” (John 18:3 J.B). Matthew called this crowd “a great multitude with swords and clubs”. Luke called them a “multitude”. Mark claimed they came “from the chief priests, the scribes and the elders.” (Mark 14:43 NJB). A cohort was a uniquely Roman term referring to 500 Roman soldiers, roughly equivalent to 40 football teams of men. Would the Romans have sent this many soldiers to arrest a benign, peace-loving preacher who thought he was God? Of course not. Jesus was a big fish with an entourage of supporters and he needed to be decisively crushed.

That’s a gigantic “of course not”. How many would they have sent? 250? 50? 10? 3? 1? Are you aware or are you just assuming it’s not 500? Was there a smaller functioning Roman unit that the could have sent instead of a full cohort?

You assume that the numbers were due to the fact that they must have expected Jesus to fight back, but there’s no evidence of that.

What does decisively crushed mean? You were quite clear that they went there to arrest Jesus. That’s a different act than crushing him. You also previously established that Jesus’ followers would likely protect him. So if he did have an entourage, it could explain why they went there with so many men (but that’s conjecture).

Mark Wrote:He is taken before Pilot and the accusation made
“We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar, saying that he himself is Christ, a King.” (Luke 23;2). Pilate asked Jesus if he is king of the Jews and Jesus answers
“it is as you say it.” (Luke 23;3). This perfectly described the whole crux of the issue; Jesus was accused of undermining the government and the taxation system and proclaiming himself a king. He effectively signed his own death warrant by admitting he thought he was king of the Jews.

The sign on Jesus’ cross, “King of the Jews,” stated his real crime, and was written by Pilate, who knew Jesus was a revolutionary.

Ok. I’m with you when you say Jesus was engaged in civil disobedience. That seems clear. I’m with you when you say he was undermining the government. That seems equally clear. The signing his own death warrant seems irrelevant.

Then you make a giant leap, saying that Pilate knew Jesus was a revolutionary. First of all, is revolutionary a synonymn for freedom fighter, ie, do they exercise force, or is a revolutionary anti-government, or anit-Roman or anti-cooperation, ie, do they employ peaceful means? Second, how did he know that? I mean, if revolutionary just means anti-government, then yeah, that’s explained in the quote. But if it means freedom fighter or insurrectionist, then there’s no mention of it in the quotes provided.

Mark Wrote:Consider what Luke has a follower of Jesus saying shortly after the crucifixion;
“Our own hope had been that he would be the one to set Israel free….” (Luke 24:21 NJB).

I’ve addressed this one previously. It strikes me that this too relies on the assumption that setting people free requires force absolutely. This is not the case. Is there evidence that Jesus tried to use force?

Mark Wrote:Ok....some new stuff....please be patient as I set the scene...

I’m with ya, brother.

Mark Wrote:The loss of two leaders in close succession, John the Baptist and then Jesus must have devastated their supporters. Matthew and John have the disciples going back to Galilee, yet Acts and Luke have the risen Jesus telling them not to leave Jerusalem. They either left Jerusalem or they didn’t, but they couldn’t have done both. What is clear is that over the next few decades there was a strong contingent of Jesus supporters living in Jerusalem.

There is no doubt Jerusalem was a hostile, dangerous place. Jesus had been crucified there. The Sadducees and a garrison of Roman troops, their sworn enemies, were there. They moved to Jerusalem because they believed in a kingdom of God on earth, and they knew that this could only have its birthplace in Jerusalem. Luke explains that this dream was still a general expectation amongst the supporters of Jesus when, in the first chapter of Acts, the resurrected Jesus appears:
“Now having met together, they asked him, 'Lord, has the time come? Are you going to restore the kingdom of Israel?' He replied, 'It is not for you to know times or dates that the Father has decided by his own authority, but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and then you will be my witnesses not only in Jerusalem but throughout Judea and Samaria, and indeed to the ends of the earth'.” (Acts 1:9-12 NJB). Luke was writing 80+ years after Jesus’ death to a gentile audience. The second coming of Jesus hadn’t happened, however he wanted his readers to think it was still going to happen sometime in the future, but they better not hold their breath. This was in marked contrast to what Paul wrote in the early 50’s when he told his readers the second coming was imminent and there was not much point living as they normally would.

I admit, an interesting proof that there were discrepancies between Luke and Paul’s accounts and I must admit, a not implausible theory about Luke’s motivations, although I would like to see further evidence. I don’t see what this has to do with Jesus the freedom fighter though.

Mark Wrote:These people, led by an inspirational James, called themselves “saints” or followers of “the way” or “the faithful” or “disciples” or “the poor” or the “children of light”. They were also known as Nazarenes. The Nazarenes were an Essenian sect with zealot aspirations.

Two questions. 1 – What is the evidence of their zealot aspirations? 2 – What exactly do you mean by zealot?

Mark Wrote:Jesus too had been a Nazarene, as stated in the Bible. Acts referred to
“...Jesus Christ the Nazarene...” (Acts 3:6, 4:10, 2:22, 6:14, 22:8, 26:9 NJB)

Is this guilt by association?

Mark Wrote:Most modern Christians assume the term “Nazarene” referred to the fact that Jesus came from the village of Nazareth. This was what Matthew claimed (Matthew 2:23), but this was not the genuine origin of the term. On nearly every occasion that Jesus was referred to in the Gospels as being of Nazareth, the words “of Nazareth” should actually read “the Nazarene”. Nazareth the village almost certainly did not exist in Jesus' time or at the time the Gospels were first written. The attempt to make Jesus “of Nazareth” was a ploy to distract from his sectarian affiliations. The Bible even stated the term “Nazarene” referred to a sect. In the book of Acts, Tertullus, an ally of the Sadducees, accused Paul 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 interesting and plausible argument.

Mark Wrote:The family, disciples and followers of the flesh and blood Jesus were Nazarenes. The “pillars” Paul refers to were the leaders of this group. They were not Christians.

This requires some backing up.

Mark Wrote:They practiced circumcision, believed in baptism and repentance as taught by John the Baptist and were strict about the Sabbath. They were vegetarians who didn't approve of the slaughter of animals for either food or sacrifice. They called each other brothers and sisters, and developed their own “Halacha”, which was their own interpretation of the Torah. They believed that Jesus was a very human prophet who had been killed, but they hoped he was going to return soon as the messiah of Israel to establish the Kingdom of God on earth. They were true believers in the power and glory of Israel, saw themselves as God's chosen people and were strongly opposed to the Romans who they believed were working for Satan. They were willing to take the Romans on, and had lost John the Baptist and Jesus in doing so. That was why the Roman world considered any member of the Nazarenes “a pest” who “stirs up trouble among Jews the world over”.

I would like to see sources for these qualities you attribute to the Nazareens, but I’m willing to give you the benefit of the doubt, primarily because it seems pretty thorough.

What do you mean by willing to take the Romans on? Whatever your answer, that could use some support.

Mark Wrote:James was their king. Leadership was inherited from blood relations, which explains the leadership passing from John the Baptist to Jesus and on to James. James and the other Nazarenes believed Jesus was the Jewish messiah of Israel, although yet to prove himself by returning from the dead to defeat the Romans and set up the Kingdom of God. They did not believe he was the Son of God or that he had risen from the dead. Nor did they believe the crucifixion of Jesus was intended to save anyone from their sins, but a despicable act of the Roman enemy.

The Nazarenes saw themselves as preparing “the way” for the return of Yahweh as described in Isaiah 40-66. Some early church fathers claim the Nazarenes wrote an early Hebrew version of Matthew’s gospel, one without the pro gentile changes. That would definitely have made an interesting read, but not surprisingly no copy has survived. It would bear only a passing resemblance to what has become today’s gospel of Matthew.

Douglas Lockhart believes the Nazarenes had boosted their numbers to about 8000 by recruiting Jews at the time James died in 62 CE. Some Nazarenes were sent out as missionaries to nearby cities. Peter was one such missionary and he went to Antioch. These missionaries even got as far as Rome. It was the Nazarenes who founded and ran the original community in Rome, the one that Paul wrote to in an attempt to introduce himself in his famous letter to the Romans.

This is all very interesting, but since it all occurs after Jesus’ death, I don’t see what it has to do with Jesus the freedom fighter.

Mark Wrote:James’ Murder...
Luke finishes off Acts with Paul in prison in Rome in 60 CE, so he avoids discussing James’ death in 62 CE or any of the events in the decades afterwards. Luke wants his readers to forget the Nazarenes. They were not part of the new movement he was trying to promote.

Again, be that as it may, Luke’s motivations seem irrelevant.

Mark Wrote:Josephus, on the other hand, was a secular historian with no knowledge of a Christian agenda, and he wrote about the demise of James in 62 CE:
“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 favourable 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.”
James was murdered by an out of line Ananus, the High Priest who had been given the job only three months earlier. James had always been a threat to the Sadducees, just like his brother Jesus before him, and Ananus took advantage of a temporary absence of Roman supervision to get rid of him. Incidentally, the phrase “the brother of Jesus, the one called Christ” is a well-known Christian interpolation.

So…. Are you using this to show that because Luke and Paul had conflicting accounts and because Luke ignored James’ murder that we have reason to believe that at least Luke made other decisions about what went into his accounts based on political motivations and the demands of expanding the faith?

Mark Wrote:James became the third Nazarene leader to be murdered, yet the first to be killed by Jews rather than Romans. This upset the people, because he was very popular. The Romans, who were trying to keep the peace, were not impressed with this inflammatory act and removed Ananus from his post as High Priest. They had a difficult time sorting out squabbles amongst the Jews.

Simeon, a second brother [sic “cousin” according to Hegesippus] of Jesus, took over the leadership of the Jerusalem-based movement following James’ stoning.

Not sure what this has to do with it.

Mark Wrote:OK Matt...the story continues with the massive first Jewish war. What I have tried to do is give you some sense of the antagonism between the gentile world and the Jews that was an undoubted feature of the history of the times. When I say "the Jews" I'm talking about the poorer classes, particularly in rural Palestine, and particularly in Galilee. ( there were hundreds of thousands of Jews in the diaspora, but generally speaking they were less likely to cause trouble for the government)There is good evidence in the bible that Jesus was very much in the middle of this. He was one of the leaders of a very nationalist fundamentalist xenophobic group called the Nazarenes. His cousin John had preceeded him as leader and his brother James took over on his death.

Again, guilt by association.

They weren’t nationalists because that’s a modern term. You need to be careful about things like that.

Also, you’ve characterised this group.

Mark Wrote:The relationship between Jews and Romans in the years before, during and after Jesus is an extremely important topic as it places the whole Jesus story into context.

True, but there is no causal relationship between that context and Jesus’ actions, as I illustrated with my MLK/Black Panther Party analogy.

Mark Wrote:Robert Eisenman, in his exhaustively researched and very detailed book “James, Brother of Jesus” presents a sensible assessment of Jesus’ time and the decades afterwards. He divides Palestine into two power blocks: the rulers and the populists. The rulers were the Romans, and those who had been given power by them. They included the Herodian puppet dynasty, the Sadducees, the Sanhedrin, the collaborationist Pharisees and the gentiles, which included Paul’s Christians. The populists were the native population, most of who to varying degrees were opposed to Roman domination. They included the Nazarenes, the Qumran community (writers of the Dead Sea Scrolls), and various other groups including other Essenes and Zealots whose exact delineations and relationships will probably never be clarified. United under the influence of James, they opposed the Roman establishment. Eisenman portrays James as a xenophobic fundamentalist Jewish figure. He was quite probably, in his own time and amongst his own people, a more significant figure than Jesus.

But you’re talking about James, not Jesus.

That being said, here you’ve provided a verifiable source. That’s the sort of thing I’m looking for.

Mark Wrote:The Dead Sea Scrolls substantiate the Jewish perspective of a people living under harsh and brutal Roman domination, but there was more to the antagonism towards Romans than just the political and economic suppression of Jews. They were an intensely proud people who imagined themselves as God’s special people on earth. Many of them considered it their duty to inform the world about the power and majesty of their God and bring all nations under his authority. Jews wanted to be what the Romans actually were; the people at the top that bought peace and order to humanity. They grossly over-estimated their own importance and their own abilities because they had almost no history of any long-lasting successful government, no well-disciplined army organised enough to be effective, and were notorious for fighting amongst themselves. They had their heads in the clouds dreaming about a messiah who would create the kingdom of God on earth. They had an invisible mythical Yahweh, whereas the Romans had a very real and effective Caesar.

Again, good verifiable source, ie, the Dead Sea Scrolls. The issue is, the Jewish people is not Jesus.

The rest of it… it’s kinda borderline, if ya know what I mean.

Mark Wrote:Eisenman and other eminent scholars, including Douglas Lockhart, claim copies of James’ sermons are to be found in the Dead Sea Scrolls thundering against "the Enemy" and "the Liar," referring to someone daring to teach dogma at odds with the traditions of observant Jews. There is only one likely person James could be referring to and that is Paul, whom James would have considered a traitor and an agent of the Roman establishment. It is ironic that Jesus’ brother referred to the creator of Christian theology as a liar. Paul himself was aware that he was a liar. He wrote
“For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner?” (Romans 3:7, KJB). No wonder the Vatican diligently policed the interpretation of the Dead Sea scrolls in the decades after their discovery. If someone made a good movie based on these historical facts about Jesus, Paul and James it would surely be a mind-bending blockbuster that would rock the Christian establishment.

Ok. Jesus appears nowhere in this quote and suddenly there’s enough facts about him for a movie.

Mark Wrote:“Jesus” is a Gentile Creation. The real Jesus was not the preacher of ethics he is portrayed as in the Bible. He was a man whose primary agenda was the establishment of a Jewish Kingdom of God in Palestine. The stories in the Gospels of him eating with tax collectors, who were working for the Roman government, were designed to make him pro-gentile. On occasions in the Gospels he denigrated aspects of Jewish law, which no true Jew would ever do, so this was fictional too. The benign preacher who claimed he wasn’t a zealot and was murdered at the insistence of a Jewish crowd is a fabrication by Gentile authors and interpolators so that the story undermined Jesus as king of the Jews and appealed to a Gentile audience.

Ah, I finally see your thrust. Jesus was a gentile-hating Jew, not a fluffy hippy.

I don’t think that you’ve demonstrated that, but I do see what you’re getting at.

I think the only link you’ve shown was something I asked about way at the top, where he asked his followers to skip the gentiles. Other than that, everything seems pretty circumstantial and based on guilt by association.

I think by and large you made a number of leaps from quote to theory that I don’t feel were supported by the quotes or by any secondary sources.

I don’t know, I wanted to say at least once how you showed direct evidence, primarily because I didn’t want to be seen as just ripping on your stuff for the sake of ripping on it, but I gotta say, I didn’t really see any direct evidence.

I think that you need to separate this into three ideas:
-Motivations for rewriting the Bible to appease gentiles
-Jesus the gentile-hater and how that applies to Romans
-Jesus undertaking acts of insurgency

The last point is really your meat and the other two are just there to make it plausible. But I don’t think that you demonstrated any of them. Sorry.

I do hope you can clear up some of my questions though.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
Hi Matt, I will reply to this tomorrow. Thanks for contributing, Mark
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26-06-2011, 04:50 AM
RE: Jesus was a terrorist!
(25-06-2011 07:29 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  
(23-06-2011 11:25 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, Mark.

Ok. I'm gonna go through this and give my opinion about the strength of the evidence in terms of it's ability or inability to support this statement: "...Jesus' primary agenda was that of a freedom fighter."Let's see what happens.

Mark Wrote:Herod ordered the beheading of Jesus' cousin, John the baptist, on suspicion he was a zealot. Josephus clearly states this. We know jesus took over the leadreship of the Nazarene movement on john's death.
Luke wrote…
“Just at this time some Pharisees came up. Go away they said, leave this place, because Herod means to kill you.” (Luke 13:31 NJB). Some Pharisees obviously admired Jesus and wanted to save him. If Jesus had been a harmless religious enthusiast roaming the countryside preaching to the people about God and life, Herod would have no reason to kill him.

Herod was well known for killing people, even members of his own family, who he thought were a threat to his kingship. It is a very reasonable assumption that he considered jesus a political threat. I can't absolutely prove this, but it was well known that herod had spies in the population looking out for zealots. Remember...herod had been installed as a puppet king by Rome.

John’s beheading has no causal link to Jesus’ freedom fighting nor does leading the Nazarene movement.

You admit that Herod killed anyone that constituted a threat but you imply that religious enthusiasm cannot be considered a threat; therefore, the threat must have been more direct, ie, freedom fighting and you support that leap by mentioning that Herod was looking for zelots. I think that’s too big a leap.

Mark Wrote:Jesus the social revolutionary said:
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he was anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor". (Luke 4.18-19). You don't release captives and the oppressed other than by force if you are a peasant with no money and no friends in high places.

That position is insupportable. MLK and Ghandi did exactly that, we have clear historical documentation of that fact. There is no reason to assume that Jesus’ mandate required force.

Quote:Jesus said
“But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.
Woe to you were are full now, for you will be hungry…” (Luke 6;24-25). This reveals his INTENTION to change the social order.

Changing the social order does not require force.

This looks like it will come up again, so I want to make the blanket statement that your evidence fails where it assumes force is required to effect what Jesus has said when it does not require force.

Mark Wrote:Jesus the bellicose revolutionary said
"From the time of John the Baptist the Kingdom of heaven has been advancing violently, and the violent take it by force." (Matthew 11;12) Now it is very clear the kingdom of heaven was imagined by Jews to be a social utopia on earth. Jesus said he wanted to create that kingdom using force.

That link is not apparent to me. Could you elaborate? For my part, I don’t feel that I quite understand the quote.

Mark Wrote:These were quite radical messages that not everyone wanted to hear
"…all in the synagogue were filled with rage. They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill... so that they might hurl him off the cliff" (Luke 4;29-30). Why such an angry reaction from some people? Jesus called for the overthrow of the social structure, and that didn’t suit the upper classes.

We cannot assume that their anger stems from Jesus suggesting insurrection. That’s a leap that has no direct evidence. All we know is that something he said pissed them off. Is there evidence of what he actually said?

Mark Wrote:Jesus told his disciples
“Go nowhere among the gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matthew 10;5-6 ). This hints at Jesus' nationalism.

He had a target audience. Even if he was a fervent nationalist (a term that had no meaning in his time), nationalism does not lead inexorably to insurrection. I live in Quebec. About half the population are nationalist separatists and almost none of them support insurrection (there has only been one instance of significant insurrection here). Is there any indication why he ordered them to skip the gentiles and the Samaritans?

Mark Wrote:“Many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary and had seen what he did believed in him but some of them went to tell the Pharisees what Jesus had done. Then the chief priests and Pharisees called a meeting. Here is this man working all these signs they said and what action are we taking? If we let him go on in this way everybody will believe in him and the Romans will come and destroy our Holy place and our nation...” (John 11:45-49 NJB). The chief priests and some Pharisees were clearly worried that if Jesus got too popular the Romans would destroy the Temple and the nation of Israel. This is precisely what happened 35 years later, in 70 CE, a fact well known to the author of John.

This has no link to anything. Is there evidence that the destruction of the temple was in retaliation for insurrection? Is there any evidence that the Pharisees believed Jesus was planning an insurrection?

Mark Wrote:“Great crowds of people spread their cloaks on the road, while others were cutting branches from trees spreading them in his path. The crowds who went in front of him and who followed were all shouting: Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessings on him who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heavens! And when he entered Jerusalem the whole city was in turmoil. Who is this people asked, and the crowds answered, this is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.” (Matthew 21:8-12 NJB). "Hosanna" was the ancient cry of Jewish independence. The crowds were welcoming their son of David, a true Jewish king. The average jew dreamt of a time such as King David's when there were no foreigners ruling over them.

I feel that you’re trying to draw a direct link between a desire for independence and self-rule and the necessity of the use of force to accomplish this.

Mark Wrote:Matthew wrote

I most certainly did not… oh right… that Matthew. Mooooooving right along…

Mark Wrote:Matthew wrote
“Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and made plans to arrest Jesus by some trick and have him put to death. They said ‘however it must not be during the festivities, there must be no disturbance among the people.” (Matthew 26:3-6 NJB). Luke wrote something similar;
“And from early morning the people would gather round him in the temple and listen to him. The feast of the unleavened bread, called the Passover, was now drawing near, and the chief priests and scribes were looking for some way of doing away with him, because they mistrusted the people.” (Luke 21:38, 22:1 NJB), followed by “And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them. But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet.” (Luke 21:45-46). Two gospel authors admitted that the chief priests thought Jesus and the people were plotting against them. Remember please who the chief priets were....they were the aristocratic class who had been given their positions by the Romans.

Speaking out against a group does not mean that you are inciting violence. I speak out against corporations all the time, but I’ve never bombed a McDonalds.

Is there any evidence that what he spake of was a call to arms against the Pharisees? Do we know if their perception that he was talking about them is accureate?

Also, I see no evidence of Jesus plotting against them. Speaking out against them, yes, but it seems that they were the ones plotting against Jesus. And I don’t see evidence of the people plotting against them. They do seem to think that if they just killed Jesus, the crowd would kill them for it. Am I missing something about this plot?

Mark Wrote:Matthew rather feebly suggested Jesus was ambivalent about his role as the Jewish messiah. He had Jesus state that what belonged to Caesar should be returned to Caesar (Matthew 22:19-22); in other words Jews should pay taxes to Rome. I think this was written into the gospel to stop readers making the obvious conclusion that Jesus was a zealot. It didn’t fit with what Jesus says and does elsewhere.

“Feebly suggested” is a characterisation without supporting evidence.

I can’t imagine that’s the Biblical quote but it seems credited to Matthew 22. What am I missing here?

I find it difficult to lend credence to the idea that it was written in. I’m not sure what you base this assumption on.

Mark Wrote:“Judas the traitor knew the place well, since Jesus had often met his disciples there, and he bought the cohort to this place together with a detachment of guards sent by the chief priests and Pharisees, all with lanterns and torches and weapons.” (John 18:3 J.B). Matthew called this crowd “a great multitude with swords and clubs”. Luke called them a “multitude”. Mark claimed they came “from the chief priests, the scribes and the elders.” (Mark 14:43 NJB). A cohort was a uniquely Roman term referring to 500 Roman soldiers, roughly equivalent to 40 football teams of men. Would the Romans have sent this many soldiers to arrest a benign, peace-loving preacher who thought he was God? Of course not. Jesus was a big fish with an entourage of supporters and he needed to be decisively crushed.

That’s a gigantic “of course not”. How many would they have sent? 250? 50? 10? 3? 1? Are you aware or are you just assuming it’s not 500? Was there a smaller functioning Roman unit that the could have sent instead of a full cohort?

You assume that the numbers were due to the fact that they must have expected Jesus to fight back, but there’s no evidence of that.

What does decisively crushed mean? You were quite clear that they went there to arrest Jesus. That’s a different act than crushing him. You also previously established that Jesus’ followers would likely protect him. So if he did have an entourage, it could explain why they went there with so many men (but that’s conjecture).

Mark Wrote:He is taken before Pilot and the accusation made
“We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar, saying that he himself is Christ, a King.” (Luke 23;2). Pilate asked Jesus if he is king of the Jews and Jesus answers
“it is as you say it.” (Luke 23;3). This perfectly described the whole crux of the issue; Jesus was accused of undermining the government and the taxation system and proclaiming himself a king. He effectively signed his own death warrant by admitting he thought he was king of the Jews.

The sign on Jesus’ cross, “King of the Jews,” stated his real crime, and was written by Pilate, who knew Jesus was a revolutionary.

Ok. I’m with you when you say Jesus was engaged in civil disobedience. That seems clear. I’m with you when you say he was undermining the government. That seems equally clear. The signing his own death warrant seems irrelevant.

Then you make a giant leap, saying that Pilate knew Jesus was a revolutionary. First of all, is revolutionary a synonymn for freedom fighter, ie, do they exercise force, or is a revolutionary anti-government, or anit-Roman or anti-cooperation, ie, do they employ peaceful means? Second, how did he know that? I mean, if revolutionary just means anti-government, then yeah, that’s explained in the quote. But if it means freedom fighter or insurrectionist, then there’s no mention of it in the quotes provided.

Mark Wrote:Consider what Luke has a follower of Jesus saying shortly after the crucifixion;
“Our own hope had been that he would be the one to set Israel free….” (Luke 24:21 NJB).

I’ve addressed this one previously. It strikes me that this too relies on the assumption that setting people free requires force absolutely. This is not the case. Is there evidence that Jesus tried to use force?

Mark Wrote:Ok....some new stuff....please be patient as I set the scene...

I’m with ya, brother.

Mark Wrote:The loss of two leaders in close succession, John the Baptist and then Jesus must have devastated their supporters. Matthew and John have the disciples going back to Galilee, yet Acts and Luke have the risen Jesus telling them not to leave Jerusalem. They either left Jerusalem or they didn’t, but they couldn’t have done both. What is clear is that over the next few decades there was a strong contingent of Jesus supporters living in Jerusalem.

There is no doubt Jerusalem was a hostile, dangerous place. Jesus had been crucified there. The Sadducees and a garrison of Roman troops, their sworn enemies, were there. They moved to Jerusalem because they believed in a kingdom of God on earth, and they knew that this could only have its birthplace in Jerusalem. Luke explains that this dream was still a general expectation amongst the supporters of Jesus when, in the first chapter of Acts, the resurrected Jesus appears:
“Now having met together, they asked him, 'Lord, has the time come? Are you going to restore the kingdom of Israel?' He replied, 'It is not for you to know times or dates that the Father has decided by his own authority, but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and then you will be my witnesses not only in Jerusalem but throughout Judea and Samaria, and indeed to the ends of the earth'.” (Acts 1:9-12 NJB). Luke was writing 80+ years after Jesus’ death to a gentile audience. The second coming of Jesus hadn’t happened, however he wanted his readers to think it was still going to happen sometime in the future, but they better not hold their breath. This was in marked contrast to what Paul wrote in the early 50’s when he told his readers the second coming was imminent and there was not much point living as they normally would.

I admit, an interesting proof that there were discrepancies between Luke and Paul’s accounts and I must admit, a not implausible theory about Luke’s motivations, although I would like to see further evidence. I don’t see what this has to do with Jesus the freedom fighter though.

Mark Wrote:These people, led by an inspirational James, called themselves “saints” or followers of “the way” or “the faithful” or “disciples” or “the poor” or the “children of light”. They were also known as Nazarenes. The Nazarenes were an Essenian sect with zealot aspirations.

Two questions. 1 – What is the evidence of their zealot aspirations? 2 – What exactly do you mean by zealot?

Mark Wrote:Jesus too had been a Nazarene, as stated in the Bible. Acts referred to
“...Jesus Christ the Nazarene...” (Acts 3:6, 4:10, 2:22, 6:14, 22:8, 26:9 NJB)

Is this guilt by association?

Mark Wrote:Most modern Christians assume the term “Nazarene” referred to the fact that Jesus came from the village of Nazareth. This was what Matthew claimed (Matthew 2:23), but this was not the genuine origin of the term. On nearly every occasion that Jesus was referred to in the Gospels as being of Nazareth, the words “of Nazareth” should actually read “the Nazarene”. Nazareth the village almost certainly did not exist in Jesus' time or at the time the Gospels were first written. The attempt to make Jesus “of Nazareth” was a ploy to distract from his sectarian affiliations. The Bible even stated the term “Nazarene” referred to a sect. In the book of Acts, Tertullus, an ally of the Sadducees, accused Paul 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 interesting and plausible argument.

Mark Wrote:The family, disciples and followers of the flesh and blood Jesus were Nazarenes. The “pillars” Paul refers to were the leaders of this group. They were not Christians.

This requires some backing up.

Mark Wrote:They practiced circumcision, believed in baptism and repentance as taught by John the Baptist and were strict about the Sabbath. They were vegetarians who didn't approve of the slaughter of animals for either food or sacrifice. They called each other brothers and sisters, and developed their own “Halacha”, which was their own interpretation of the Torah. They believed that Jesus was a very human prophet who had been killed, but they hoped he was going to return soon as the messiah of Israel to establish the Kingdom of God on earth. They were true believers in the power and glory of Israel, saw themselves as God's chosen people and were strongly opposed to the Romans who they believed were working for Satan. They were willing to take the Romans on, and had lost John the Baptist and Jesus in doing so. That was why the Roman world considered any member of the Nazarenes “a pest” who “stirs up trouble among Jews the world over”.

I would like to see sources for these qualities you attribute to the Nazareens, but I’m willing to give you the benefit of the doubt, primarily because it seems pretty thorough.

What do you mean by willing to take the Romans on? Whatever your answer, that could use some support.

Mark Wrote:James was their king. Leadership was inherited from blood relations, which explains the leadership passing from John the Baptist to Jesus and on to James. James and the other Nazarenes believed Jesus was the Jewish messiah of Israel, although yet to prove himself by returning from the dead to defeat the Romans and set up the Kingdom of God. They did not believe he was the Son of God or that he had risen from the dead. Nor did they believe the crucifixion of Jesus was intended to save anyone from their sins, but a despicable act of the Roman enemy.

The Nazarenes saw themselves as preparing “the way” for the return of Yahweh as described in Isaiah 40-66. Some early church fathers claim the Nazarenes wrote an early Hebrew version of Matthew’s gospel, one without the pro gentile changes. That would definitely have made an interesting read, but not surprisingly no copy has survived. It would bear only a passing resemblance to what has become today’s gospel of Matthew.

Douglas Lockhart believes the Nazarenes had boosted their numbers to about 8000 by recruiting Jews at the time James died in 62 CE. Some Nazarenes were sent out as missionaries to nearby cities. Peter was one such missionary and he went to Antioch. These missionaries even got as far as Rome. It was the Nazarenes who founded and ran the original community in Rome, the one that Paul wrote to in an attempt to introduce himself in his famous letter to the Romans.

This is all very interesting, but since it all occurs after Jesus’ death, I don’t see what it has to do with Jesus the freedom fighter.

Mark Wrote:James’ Murder...
Luke finishes off Acts with Paul in prison in Rome in 60 CE, so he avoids discussing James’ death in 62 CE or any of the events in the decades afterwards. Luke wants his readers to forget the Nazarenes. They were not part of the new movement he was trying to promote.

Again, be that as it may, Luke’s motivations seem irrelevant.

Mark Wrote:Josephus, on the other hand, was a secular historian with no knowledge of a Christian agenda, and he wrote about the demise of James in 62 CE:
“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 favourable 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.”
James was murdered by an out of line Ananus, the High Priest who had been given the job only three months earlier. James had always been a threat to the Sadducees, just like his brother Jesus before him, and Ananus took advantage of a temporary absence of Roman supervision to get rid of him. Incidentally, the phrase “the brother of Jesus, the one called Christ” is a well-known Christian interpolation.

So…. Are you using this to show that because Luke and Paul had conflicting accounts and because Luke ignored James’ murder that we have reason to believe that at least Luke made other decisions about what went into his accounts based on political motivations and the demands of expanding the faith?

Mark Wrote:James became the third Nazarene leader to be murdered, yet the first to be killed by Jews rather than Romans. This upset the people, because he was very popular. The Romans, who were trying to keep the peace, were not impressed with this inflammatory act and removed Ananus from his post as High Priest. They had a difficult time sorting out squabbles amongst the Jews.

Simeon, a second brother [sic “cousin” according to Hegesippus] of Jesus, took over the leadership of the Jerusalem-based movement following James’ stoning.

Not sure what this has to do with it.

Mark Wrote:OK Matt...the story continues with the massive first Jewish war. What I have tried to do is give you some sense of the antagonism between the gentile world and the Jews that was an undoubted feature of the history of the times. When I say "the Jews" I'm talking about the poorer classes, particularly in rural Palestine, and particularly in Galilee. ( there were hundreds of thousands of Jews in the diaspora, but generally speaking they were less likely to cause trouble for the government)There is good evidence in the bible that Jesus was very much in the middle of this. He was one of the leaders of a very nationalist fundamentalist xenophobic group called the Nazarenes. His cousin John had preceeded him as leader and his brother James took over on his death.

Again, guilt by association.

They weren’t nationalists because that’s a modern term. You need to be careful about things like that.

Also, you’ve characterised this group.

Mark Wrote:The relationship between Jews and Romans in the years before, during and after Jesus is an extremely important topic as it places the whole Jesus story into context.

True, but there is no causal relationship between that context and Jesus’ actions, as I illustrated with my MLK/Black Panther Party analogy.

Mark Wrote:Robert Eisenman, in his exhaustively researched and very detailed book “James, Brother of Jesus” presents a sensible assessment of Jesus’ time and the decades afterwards. He divides Palestine into two power blocks: the rulers and the populists. The rulers were the Romans, and those who had been given power by them. They included the Herodian puppet dynasty, the Sadducees, the Sanhedrin, the collaborationist Pharisees and the gentiles, which included Paul’s Christians. The populists were the native population, most of who to varying degrees were opposed to Roman domination. They included the Nazarenes, the Qumran community (writers of the Dead Sea Scrolls), and various other groups including other Essenes and Zealots whose exact delineations and relationships will probably never be clarified. United under the influence of James, they opposed the Roman establishment. Eisenman portrays James as a xenophobic fundamentalist Jewish figure. He was quite probably, in his own time and amongst his own people, a more significant figure than Jesus.

But you’re talking about James, not Jesus.

That being said, here you’ve provided a verifiable source. That’s the sort of thing I’m looking for.

Mark Wrote:The Dead Sea Scrolls substantiate the Jewish perspective of a people living under harsh and brutal Roman domination, but there was more to the antagonism towards Romans than just the political and economic suppression of Jews. They were an intensely proud people who imagined themselves as God’s special people on earth. Many of them considered it their duty to inform the world about the power and majesty of their God and bring all nations under his authority. Jews wanted to be what the Romans actually were; the people at the top that bought peace and order to humanity. They grossly over-estimated their own importance and their own abilities because they had almost no history of any long-lasting successful government, no well-disciplined army organised enough to be effective, and were notorious for fighting amongst themselves. They had their heads in the clouds dreaming about a messiah who would create the kingdom of God on earth. They had an invisible mythical Yahweh, whereas the Romans had a very real and effective Caesar.

Again, good verifiable source, ie, the Dead Sea Scrolls. The issue is, the Jewish people is not Jesus.

The rest of it… it’s kinda borderline, if ya know what I mean.

Mark Wrote:Eisenman and other eminent scholars, including Douglas Lockhart, claim copies of James’ sermons are to be found in the Dead Sea Scrolls thundering against "the Enemy" and "the Liar," referring to someone daring to teach dogma at odds with the traditions of observant Jews. There is only one likely person James could be referring to and that is Paul, whom James would have considered a traitor and an agent of the Roman establishment. It is ironic that Jesus’ brother referred to the creator of Christian theology as a liar. Paul himself was aware that he was a liar. He wrote
“For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner?” (Romans 3:7, KJB). No wonder the Vatican diligently policed the interpretation of the Dead Sea scrolls in the decades after their discovery. If someone made a good movie based on these historical facts about Jesus, Paul and James it would surely be a mind-bending blockbuster that would rock the Christian establishment.

Ok. Jesus appears nowhere in this quote and suddenly there’s enough facts about him for a movie.

Mark Wrote:“Jesus” is a Gentile Creation. The real Jesus was not the preacher of ethics he is portrayed as in the Bible. He was a man whose primary agenda was the establishment of a Jewish Kingdom of God in Palestine. The stories in the Gospels of him eating with tax collectors, who were working for the Roman government, were designed to make him pro-gentile. On occasions in the Gospels he denigrated aspects of Jewish law, which no true Jew would ever do, so this was fictional too. The benign preacher who claimed he wasn’t a zealot and was murdered at the insistence of a Jewish crowd is a fabrication by Gentile authors and interpolators so that the story undermined Jesus as king of the Jews and appealed to a Gentile audience.

Ah, I finally see your thrust. Jesus was a gentile-hating Jew, not a fluffy hippy.

I don’t think that you’ve demonstrated that, but I do see what you’re getting at.

I think the only link you’ve shown was something I asked about way at the top, where he asked his followers to skip the gentiles. Other than that, everything seems pretty circumstantial and based on guilt by association.

I think by and large you made a number of leaps from quote to theory that I don’t feel were supported by the quotes or by any secondary sources.

I don’t know, I wanted to say at least once how you showed direct evidence, primarily because I didn’t want to be seen as just ripping on your stuff for the sake of ripping on it, but I gotta say, I didn’t really see any direct evidence.

I think that you need to separate this into three ideas:
-Motivations for rewriting the Bible to appease gentiles
-Jesus the gentile-hater and how that applies to Romans
-Jesus undertaking acts of insurgency

The last point is really your meat and the other two are just there to make it plausible. But I don’t think that you demonstrated any of them. Sorry.

I do hope you can clear up some of my questions though.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
Hi Matt, I will reply to this tomorrow. Thanks for contributing, Mark

Hi Matt, thankyou ( I really mean it ) for your feedback.

Please let me have the floor for a few minutes and give you a little spiel.

I got through replying to 2/3 of your questions and had a light bulb moment. I realised how difficult it must be for you and others to accept what I am saying. I deleted all my replies. Please don't label me as arrogant or thinking I'm "better" or more intelligent than you or anyone else as I explain myself. I have spent maybe 10,000 hours researching and writing this stuff. I've just launched myself into this forum by presenting some of my most interesting conclusions. I haven't built the story using first principles. I can hardly expect people to just accept what are quite radical ideas without building a foundation for them. So rather than just present my conclusions I've decided to put the book, chapter by chapter, into the forum. You will see I have already started. For me, if people get interested, it is absolutely fabulous because I can absorb the ideas of some very intelligent and very informed people (like yourself) to add to the book before it gets published. I hope all forum readers might start to think of the project as being in a small way "theirs" and not just "Mark's", and, just maybe, get a bit inspired by it. I'm a little embarrassed that it may be perceived that I am using people to make a quid, and there will no doubt be people knocking me for that. I'm not going to pretend I won't happily pocket some bucks if it sells. I reckon I deserve it after the work put in.

Anyway....I hope I will answer all your objections/questions as the forum matures. It was your probing me that made me realise I needed to present my ideas in a better way...so thankyou!!! Please keep talking to me, warm regards, Mark
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