Saturday, August 21, 2010

How the early Pauline Christians invented “Jesus the Messiah”

I have already written previous blogs to do with the myth that Jesus was a Messiah, referring to the basis of the fictional narrative as mainly coming via the plagiarization of much earlier pagan god-man tracts and scriptures. Basically, later eager beaver Christian scribes and copyists simply stole what the pagans already wrote about Mithra, Horus et al and designated the properties as belonging to Jesus. Voila! A God-Man Redeemer Messiah!

The Gospel of Mark is a particular critical linchpin since we know the author was co-existent with, and wrote in an era with different pagan mystery cults that featured myths of god-man deities such as Osiris, Horus, Dionysus, Attis, Adonis, Bacchus and Mithras.

For those who wish to see the background material on Mithras (nee Mithra) again, please go to this link for my earlier blog on it) . Be sure to note how I explode all the Christian-invented fables and fictions about Mithraism - including that it only began around the 1st century AD (and confined to Rome) and also that Mithras arose from a "rock", was associated with a "bull" and other claptrap..

The most important aspect that points to mass plagaiarism by early Christian writers, copyists is the fact that more than three hundred years before Jesus, the pagan mysteries had produced a composite myth of the god-man whose biography had these (and other) elements:

-He was god incarnate,
-Born of a virgin around December 25 or January 6 in a cave or stable, sometimes with shepherds present;
-He is the son of a god and savior of all mankind via payment of a blood debt or expiation;
-His followers can be born again through baptism;
He turns water into wine at a marriage ceremony;
-His death in the Spring is a sacrifice for the sins of mankind;
-After death he descends to the place of departed spirits and then rises to heaven on the third day;
-His followers then await his return in glory to be the judge of mankind at the Last Days;
-His memory is celebrated by his followers through a ritual meal (e.g. Myazda for Mithraists) of bread and wine or water which represent his body.

The Mithraists also incorporated a version of “Hell” which was a take on the Greek Hades (with its Tartarus enclave for the worst criminals used only). However, they tweaked it in certain, specific ways, e.g.:

- They extended the Tartarus extreme punishment regime to cover all unbelievers, i.e. in Mithra, as well as unrepentant criminals

- They replaced the subtle torments (e.g. of Tantalus- placed close to water he could never drink to slake his thirst) with permanent fires. This also shows or discloses that there was a putative earlier fire –based Hell likely before the offal dump called Gehenna existed.

Hence, contrary to some claims of Jewish authors, the Christian Hell need not have been based on the latter, but plausibly the wholesale plagiarism of Mithraist’s Hell along with its Savior template. In the key passages of the Izeds of the Zendavesta, it is said that a person could be hell bound If he: a) didn’t accept Mithras as his lord and savior, or b) didn’t receive his body in the sacred meal called Myazda.

Thus, we see also the Christians likely copied (a) for their own use and inserted it into passages like John 3:16 for their own purposes – creating what they later claimed was the key provision to secure salvation. However, what they don’t say is they copied it from the Izeds. Some historically deficient fundies insist it was the Mithraists that copied from the Christians but the historical timelines simply don’t bear this out – as a Persian-Roman version of Mithraism embodying the above templates existed long before the Christians arrived.

In addition, as I pointed out earlier, many of the Jesus –redeemer and miracle worker stories were so embarrassingly close to those documenting the life of Mithras, that some of the early Church Fathers (.e.g Justin Martyr, Julius Firmicus) in the post-gospel decades argued that the Devil, knowing in advance of Jesus' coming, copied the story of his life in the myths of the ancient deities! Imagine that, the "Devil" used a trick of future time travel to help the Mithraists copy from the Christians! And then these fundie numbskulls insist they take aliens and UFOs with a grain of salt? They need to re-compute using a new probability calculus!

Of course, the early zealots like Paul knew that just wholesale copying of the ancient pagan tracts would never be enough. They also had to show from Old Testament “prophecies” that Jesus was independently predicted to be crucified etc. Thus Mark, using the Greek biographical model, drew from the Hebrew Scriptures, building on the Jewish belief that the Messiah would be historical, ot merely mythical. The author's belief that Jesus was the Son of God meant his life would have been foretold and modeled on the prior beliefs, events, heroes (e.g. Abraham, Joshua etc.) of the Jewish (Old) Testament.

Mark subsequently reworked Hebrew scripture through the Jewish rabbinical technique of midrash: elaborating on and interpreting sacred text from the past to explain and confirm truth for his time. A clever trick, but few fundies seem to know or care how it deforms their Savior beliefs!

A perfect example is Yeshua’s crucifixion. Paul along with the early Christians knew Jesus was crucified, but lacked details of the event. (Most of the written records didn’t appear for 40-70 years after the events). Mark mined the book of Isaiah (chapter 53) for the suffering servant motif and Psalm 22 ("My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?) for descriptive details in order to build his narrative of Jesus' death on the cross (Mk. 15:21-39). Matthew and Luke then followed suit.

Matthew forged one step further; so - instead of the of darkness over all the land during Jesus' last three hours on the cross (when the Sun hides its face in shame: (Is.24: 23)). Matthew substituted an earthquake when Jesus gave up the ghost. Matthew remembered Isaiah's account of Judah's deliverance (Is. 26:19). Thus, he made use of the earlier reference to write of a great earthquake striking Jerusalem and many graves opening from which God's saints rise zombie-like from the dead, and after Jesus' resurrection walk about to be seen by many (Matt. 27:50-54).

Meanwhile, John, supposedly present at the crucifixion, doesn’t mention any of these fantastic events in his gospel - the earthquake, the three hours of darkness and the once dead walking about in Jerusalem (Jn. 19:25-37). Nor were these incredible events reported by any non-Christian writers of the period (e.g. Josephus, Seneca, Pliny the Elder). This is not history, but heroic mythmaking based on a midrash of ancient texts.

Mark is also the first writer to introduce the empty tomb story. But his account features no resurrection appearances, whether the appearances related by Paul, nor those in the later gospels of Matthew, Luke and John. Mark ends his gospel with a promise that the risen Jesus would be seen in Galilee and has the women running from the empty tomb in terror, saying nothing to anyone despite the youth in the tomb telling them to "Fear nothing; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised again; he is not here; look, there is the place where they laid him. But go and give this message to his disciples and Peter: "He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you" (Mk. 16:6-8).

Did Mark conclude his gospel this way because he was using a literary device to remind us that Jesus' closest disciples fled the crucifixion in fear, or as an explanation of why the tomb story was not told until some four decades after the event? Mark has no witnesses to Christ's resurrected body in his account, because for Mark, the empty tomb was not proof of the resurrection, but a consequence of it.

Now, truth telling: Modern biblical scholars (e.g. with the benefits of vast troves of material, including the Qumran scrolls etc. have concluded that the final verses describing appearances of the risen Christ (viz, Mark 16:9-20) are an “interpolation” (a polite term for forgery). These verses aren’t found in the earliest copies of the gospel and the writing style is different. Christian scribes, who were dissatisfied with the abrupt ending to Mark, added them later. Many biblical exegetes think that the last chapter of John (21) is an interpolation as well, added early in the second century.

In the same way, we now know all the assorted references to “Hell” were interpolated, as well as the words said to issue from Yeshua’s mouth (John 3: 1-15) that “Unless a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of heaven”. ALL of these were fabrications, all later additions that aren’t consistent with the earliest texts and language. They were inserted as a ploy to exert pressure on any likely future readers who were unbelievers- to come to heel the Christian way.

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