Top suspects that could have invented the historical Jesus?

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
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MrMacSon
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Re: Top suspects that could have invented the historical Jes

Post by MrMacSon »

earlydude wrote: ... for the sake of argument/theory, let's say this invention did occur and that the storyteller's name is preserved in the historical record. If we consider their means, motive, and opportunity. Who are our prime suspects?

Marcion? Cerdo? Cephas? Ebion? Clement? Simon? Basilides? Paul? Cerinthus? Justin?
A number of key people could have have contributed to the development of the NT narrative, borrowing people & events from the past, over a significant time period - years, decades, or even a generation or two ie. over 40-60 yrs.

*Cumulative elaboration* is a term that seems to be appropriate.

But it's possible one or more of the people you list - Marcion, Cerdo, Cephas, Ebion, Clement, Simon, Basilides, ... Cerinthus, Justin, - or others - are likely key contributors to the development of the final NT narrative.

Eusbius is a key later figure, too +/-his predecessor, Pamphilus.
Last edited by MrMacSon on Fri Mar 11, 2016 8:35 pm, edited 3 times in total.
outhouse
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Re: Top suspects that could have invented the historical Jes

Post by outhouse »

MrMacSon wrote: These do not seem to be available in English, and their contents seem to have largely been relayed by Detering

I have found that work anything but credible. Its another conspiracy theory liken to wearing a tinfoil hat IMHO

I'm with Gerd Ludemann on this
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MrMacSon
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Re: Top suspects that could have invented the historical Jes

Post by MrMacSon »

outhouse wrote:
MrMacSon wrote: These do not seem to be available in English, and their contents seem to have largely been relayed by Detering
I have found that work anything but credible. Its another conspiracy theory liken to wearing a tinfoil hat IMHO

I'm with Gerd Ludemann on this
What does Ludemann say?

In 'The Fabricated Paul: Early Christianity in the Twilight' Hermann Detering summarized Dutch Radical's AD Loman's 1881 conclusion -
"Christianity in its origin was nothing else than a Jewish-Messianic movement ... the figure of Jesus had never existed, but represented a symbolization and personification of thoughts that could only make full headway in the second century. A gnostic messianic community later appeared alongside the Jewish-Christian messianic community. In the period between 70 and 135 CE the two groups opposed one another with bitter animosity.

"Only in the middle of the second century did they achieve a reconciliation, in which the gnostic community had 'Paul' as its representative and the Jewish-Christian community had Peter. The result of this process of reconciliation was the formation of the Roman Catholic Church. ... the letters of Paul are all inauthentic and represent the product of the newly-believing, gnostic-messianic community."
Various weird passages in the NT support that contention eg. Acts 13 reflects dynamics of a conflict, such as reference to a "certain magician, a Jewish false prophet named Bar-Jesus"; the mention of a second 'magician' seemingly in opposition to 'Saul', with Paul magically making him blind. Paul is at times depicted as a messiah saviour in his own right -

Acts 13 (ESV)
Barnabas and Saul Sent Off
1 Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a lifelong friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.

Barnabas and Saul on Cyprus
4 So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus. 5 When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. And they had John to assist them. 6 When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they came upon a certain magician, a Jewish false prophet named Bar-Jesus. 7 He was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence, who summoned Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. 8 But Elymas the magician (for that is the meaning of his name) opposed them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. 9 But Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him 10 and said, “You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord? 11 And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and unable to see the sun for a time.” Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he groped about, seeking someone to lead him by the hand. 12 When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, for he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord.
Acts 13 then goes on with Paul/Saul recounting OT stories of Saul and David that relate to the NT stories of Paul and Jesus, which is further evidence that many of the NT narratives are based on OT stories - -
21 " ...Then they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years. 22 And when he had removed him, He raised up David to be their king, of whom he testified and said, ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.’ 23 Of this man's offspring God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as he promised... "

27 "The people of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize Jesus, yet in condemning him they fulfilled the words of the prophets that are read every Sabbath ..

32 “ ...We tell you 'the good news': What God promised our ancestors 33 he has fulfilled for us, their children, by 'raising up' Jesus. As it is written in the second Psalm:
  • “‘You are my son;
    • today I have become your father.’
34 "God raised him from the dead so that he will never be subject to decay. As God has said,
  • ‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings promised to David.’"
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John2
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Re: Top suspects that could have invented the historical Jes

Post by John2 »

As the lone Eisenman fan here (where did John T go?), I thought I'd mention a couple of interesting options he proposes for who could have written the gospels (in a section of JBJ called Epaphroditus and His Intellectual Circle):

https://books.google.com/books?id=6WL_A ... le&f=false

Regarding these candidates he writes, "One must keep in mind the attitudes, the orientation, or, if one prefers, the polemics, which are in fact quite straightforward. With rare exceptions the point of view is always anti-Semitic, pro-Gentile, anti-national, and pro-Roman. While employing the warp and woof of Jewish Messianism, this is basically exploited to produce a pro-Roman, spiritualized, Hellenistic-style mystery religion."

He speculates that the Epaphroditus who is Paul's companion (Php. 2:25, 29, 4:18), Josephus' patron ("some persons there were who desired to know our history ... above all the rest, Epaphroditus, a man who is a lover of all kind of learning, but is principally delighted with the knowledge of history, and this on account of his having been himself concerned in great affairs, and many turns of fortune") and Nero and Domitian's secretary are one and the same.

http://www.livius.org/articles/person/epaphroditus/

Another possible candidate is Philo's nephew Tiberius Alexander.

http://www.livius.org/articles/person/j ... xander-jr/

As he writes, "Philo of Alexandria's kinsmen and heirs, thoroughly compromised by contacts with Romans and Herodians ... certainly knew the allegorical approach to Scripture that Philo himself pioneered."
Last edited by John2 on Sat Mar 12, 2016 3:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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outhouse
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Re: Top suspects that could have invented the historical Jes

Post by outhouse »

earlydude wrote:. Who are our prime suspects?

Marcion? Cerdo? Cephas? Ebion? Clement? Simon? Basilides? Paul? Cerinthus? Justin?

How about the obvious.


John the Baptist.

That's is your historical origin and foundation.
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neilgodfrey
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Re: Top suspects that could have invented the historical Jes

Post by neilgodfrey »

earlydude wrote:Obviously it's speculative as to whether the idea of Jesus of Nazareth was invented or not, and even if so, the individual responsible may be totally lost to history. But for the sake of argument/theory, let's say this invention did occur and that the storyteller's name is preserved in the historical record. If we consider their means, motive, and opportunity. Who are our prime suspects?

Marcion? Cerdo? Cephas? Ebion? Clement? Simon? Basilides? Paul? Cerinthus? Justin?
Mark. Or at least the author now lost to us but who was much later labelled "Mark". But it was an accident. Honest. He didn't mean to. He wrote a parable. Others responded to his work with literal (as distinct from literary) tales. These responses served the political function of laying a historical foundation -- the Twelve -- for the "proto-orthodox".
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Peter Kirby
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Re: Top suspects that could have invented the historical Jes

Post by Peter Kirby »

neilgodfrey wrote:
earlydude wrote:Obviously it's speculative as to whether the idea of Jesus of Nazareth was invented or not, and even if so, the individual responsible may be totally lost to history. But for the sake of argument/theory, let's say this invention did occur and that the storyteller's name is preserved in the historical record. If we consider their means, motive, and opportunity. Who are our prime suspects?

Marcion? Cerdo? Cephas? Ebion? Clement? Simon? Basilides? Paul? Cerinthus? Justin?
Mark. Or at least the author now lost to us but who was much later labelled "Mark". But it was an accident. Honest. He didn't mean to. He wrote a parable. Others responded to his work with literal (as distinct from literary) tales. These responses served the political function of laying a historical foundation -- the Twelve -- for the "proto-orthodox".
I was about to post, "Earl Doherty claimed that Mark did it." Beat me to the punch.
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neilgodfrey
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Re: Top suspects that could have invented the historical Jes

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Peter Kirby wrote: I was about to post, "Earl Doherty claimed that Mark did it." Beat me to the punch.
Gotta be quick.
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Giuseppe
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Re: Top suspects that could have invented the historical Jes

Post by Giuseppe »

I suspect Marcion.

He invented, together with the earthly Jesus, the myth that the new gospel does correct and overcome all the violence of the old Jewish scriptures. That myth took root so quickly thanks to Marcion who invented it, that our canonical Gospels could well afford the luxury of representing their Jesus even more violent than the same Jewish scriptures (prof Avalos docet), without feeling embarrassed.

I'm mythicist to the extent that he is the first evangelist (otherwise I would be agnostic). His Jesus is too ''perfect'' to be real.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.
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maryhelena
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Re: Top suspects that could have invented the historical Jes

Post by maryhelena »

John2 wrote: As he writes, "Philo of Alexandria's kinsmen and heirs, thoroughly compromised by contacts with Romans and Herodians ... certainly knew the allegorical approach to Scripture that Philo himself pioneered."
Well now, if I was placing a bet it would be on Philo......

Rachael Elior has already suggested that it was Philo that invented the Essenes...
  • Philo invented the Essenes as an ideal society and Josephus was much influenced by him, and the fact that no Jewish source written in Hebrew or Aramaic before or after the Common Era knows anything about a group called Essenes or mentions any group known as celibates denouncing private property and family life raises severe questions about their historical existence in the Land of Israel.
    http://ancienthebrewpoetry.typepad.com/ ... guise.html
Controversial Elior's theory might well be - the fact remains that Philo certainty had the ability to write the Jesus story - and, of course, lived during the relevant gospel time period....That Philo failed to mention Jesus and his early Jewish/Christian followers would then take on a very different perspective. Rather than Philo' failure to mention Jesus having negative impact upon the historicists claim - his failure could be that, like Agatha Christie's dog that did not bark in the night, Philo had his own reasons for 'no comment'. Reasons not because he had never heard of Jesus - but reasons because of involvement with the literary, but anonymous, Jesus story. Thus, Philo' failure to mention Jesus could well have positive not negative implications i.e. negative for the Jesus historicists but positive for the Jesus ahistoricists....Positive for the ahistoricists not simply in the sense that Philo provides no evidence for a historical Jesus - but positive in the sense that Philo is himself an author with the ability to write the master copy of the Jesus story.
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