It’s good to try out different theories. But methodologically this one would fail for the same reasons I lay out for other mythicist (and historisist) theses that even mainstream scholars agree fail (in Chs. 2 and 3 of OHJ
His human body was created probably by a divine fertilization of an earthly woman with king David’s seed. [Then] Jesus was killed by Satan…
This is ad hoc
. There is no evidence for the “added step” you are inserting: that an earthly woman was involved. Every time you add an ad hoc
assumption to a hypothesis (in this case, to what I describe as minimal mythicism), your theory becomes less
probable than it, not more. I do mention the possibility of an earthly myth in OHJ
, but don’t emphasize it for this very reason: it is too ad hoc
on extant evidence. This is what I say about it (n. 67, p. 563):
The original ‘revealed’ death and burial could have been imagined as occurring on earth and still be (from our perspective) mythical, if, e.g., the passion sequence was ‘revealed’ to have occurred somewhere like the Garden of Eden, a place no one knew the actual location of and thus where no ordinary witnesses could have been available (of course, the earliest Christians thought even the Garden of Eden was in outer space: 2 Cor. 12.2-4; see Element 38).
By contrast (as I show in OHJ
) we have actual evidence
for the celestial death hypothesis. But in any event, minimal mythicism is compatible with both, so your thesis is already subsumed and thus included in what I call minimal mythicism in OHJ
(hence lemma 3 of the definition of that hypothesis only says “in a supernatural realm,” not being specific as to where; and lemma 4 only says “on earth, in history” to distinguish mythical places on earth from ordinary, historical places on earth). So we have no need of your hypothesis, and it isn’t competing with mine.
They believed in a historical Jesus, but, as stated above, they did not know anything about his life on Earth.
makes very clear the minimal mythicist thesis fully asserts that they believed in a historical Jesus. Just as they believed in a historical Satan or Gabriel.
The only issue debated in OHJ
is whether that Jesus was actually
historical; just as with Satan or Gabriel. The issue of “where” they thought a historical Jesus lived and died is not the same as whether there really was a real Jesus who lived and died there. OHJ
only concerns itself principally with the latter. As to the former, it is formally nonspecific, and only spends most of its time on the celestial alternative because it’s the one we have the most evidence for (per above), not because minimal mythicism requires it.
Christians were obviously curious about the historical Jesus and tried to locate him in their more or less recent past (probably by looking at crucified men named Jesus). Some suitable candidates have been found, such as a Jesus killed by the romans at the orders of Pilate or another one killed a century earlier when Alexander Jannaeus was King.
These may be possible, but these are again ad hoc
. We have no non-circular evidence either person existed. Any theory that does not require these ad hoc
assumptions will always be more probable. As will any theory that already includes these possibilities—as my minimal mythicism already does.
For example, unlike those, which you merely conjecture, we have actual evidence for a Jesus ben Ananias killed in the 60s whom Mark used as a model for his passion narrative (see the index to OHJ for where this is covered), as also the “Jesus Christs” (Joshua-emulating messiah-figures) Josephus documents (see Ibid. Ch. 6.5 and Element 4, Ch. 4). So we already have evidence that the “Jesus” of the Gospels was built out of other actual historical Jesuses. But as none of them founded the religion, they don’t count for minimal historicity (which is defined in Ch. 2.4).
Likewise we have extensive evidence the Gospel Jesus was invented using other models as well, principally Moses, Elijah-Elisha, and Judeo-Christian missionaries and holy men generally (and possibly John the Baptist, Romulus, Odysseus, and Bacchus, although I don’t lean on those for any conclusion as to probabilities). In short, there is no single “historical Jesus” the Gospel Jesus is built out of, and no historical Jesus at all that had anything actually to do with Christianity. Hence, minimal historicity cannot be sustained with a thesis like yours. To the contrary, you are simply describing a sub-variant of what I already define as minimal mythicism.
It explains better the evidence in Paul’s epistles (in almost any aspect is similar with MMT but additionally, it has no problem with some “inconvenient” passages like “made from sperm” or “made from a woman”.
Neither does the celestial hypothesis. The belief that that does create problems is based on modern anachronistic understanding of what ancient people thought was possible or normal, and what Paul actually says in the Greek.
Theories need to be based on the actual context of ancient beliefs and norms and language, not deliberately crafted to evade any need for a correct understanding of those things.
Mark’s story, about Jesus being born in Galilee, having human parents and getting killed by the romans, is a direct denial of Paul’s.
No more than the Osirian Gospel was a “direct denial” of the actual secret teachings of the priesthood who disseminated that very Gospel. Mark is not affirming his account is true. He is representing the Gospel in allegory, just as was done for all other mythical heroes, including celestials like Osiris and Bacchus. This is extensively explained in OHJ
. This is why he has Jesus tell his own readers:
“The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that,
“‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving,
and ever hearing but never understanding;
otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’”
Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable?”
It is only later
authors who try pushing harder the literalism of the stories. Though their intentions could be various, as I discuss in OHJ
—until John, who adamantly insists you must take his story as actually true lest you be damned. John is therefore the first extant author to positively affirm historicity as an actual doctrine (and not as a symbolic fiction of use in mission work).
On the other hand, according to HMH Mark simply added some detail to Paul’s story, which would be more easily accepted by the Christians.
That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. On your theory, Mark finds some non-Christian Jesuses Paul never had in mind, and still invents a Jesus who is not at all the person Paul preached. So it’s just as denying of what Paul actually preached.
It explains better the fact that two or more such “historicizations” occurred.
So does any kind of mythologizing a nonreal Jesus. So this is not an advantage to your theory. As discussed in Ch. 8.1 in OHJ
So, in short, your new theory has no advantages, and can only be less probable than my MMT, which already includes your HMH as an available variant. I deliberately avoided theories like that so as to avoid the charge of being overly ad hoc
. So I stuck with a minimal theory, that is inclusive of all other theories like yours, without having to commit to any one of them.