If ... If ... If ...

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Speculum
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If ... If ... If ...

Postby Speculum » January 24th, 2010, 1:52 am

As I have written here before, from time to time I enjoy reading from books like The incredible Shrinking Son of Man by Robert M Price, for their perspective on the early years of Christianity: who was Jesus, was there Jesus, how Christianity came about, where it came from, who chose the canon and why, who wrote the canon books, what happened to the others, and so on.

What matters to me as a seeker is not this stuff per se, but the effects on me, on my path, of the Teachers and the Teachings that are in my path (that are my path?).

But still, as a person with an active brain (“I am Stefan, therefore I think” -- Stefan sum, ergo cogito), I confess this stuff does interest me. What actually happened back then? Who really was there? How do we know? As I have written elsewhere on TZF I am particularly interested in the Judas phenomenon, mostly because the story as it is presented to us in Sunday schools and from pulpits makes no sense at all.

Anyway, here is a brief selection from Price's book that caught my attention the other evening as I was reading before a night's sleep.

But if our goal is that of the historian striving to establish the facts of Jesus and Christian origins, we must admit there is precious little help for us in the Gospels. Among our pathmarks are Mark 12:35-37, which repudiates the Davidic descent of the Messiah. If Jesus was thought to have ever said that, then we can dismiss Matthew's and Luke's genealogies tracing Jesus back to David. If Jesus was thought to have spoken the words of Mark 8:11-12, “I tell you, no sign shall be given to this generation,” then we must reject all the stories in which he does supply miracles. If, as Rom. 1:4, Acts 2:36, 3:26 preserve, Christians once believed Jesus had become the Messiah as of his resurrection, then all passages that have him claiming messiahship during his ministry must be judged spurious. If Mark 16:1-8 rules out any resurrection appearances (had there been any resurrection appearances circulating in Mark's time, he would have used them), then the embellishments of Matthew, John, and Luke cannot be accepted. If Jesus was believed to have renounced all apocalyptic speculation (“The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed,” Luke 17:20), then the Olivet Discourse is someone else's. If the coast was clear even to pretend that Jesus said, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and set foot in no village of the Samaritans” (Matt. 10:5), then how can we credit the parable of the Good Samaritan to the historical Jesus? If the earliest known version of resurrection faith had Jesus raised as a spirit (1 Cor. 15:45, 50), then all the gospel tales of his physical resurrection must be dismissed.
"The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." Marcel Proust

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W4TVQ
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Re: If ... If ... If ...

Postby W4TVQ » January 24th, 2010, 6:21 pm

Indeed, most interesting. I have cme t mostly the same conclusions s the autor, but it does not bother me t have done so. I am still a follower of Jesus of Nazareth, a.k.a. Issa bin Yusuf, and it matters not one whit whether he ever existed or not. I presume he did, since he is mentioned in secular records of the era as well (though not always in a complimentary manner). Krishna did not exist either, a 100% mythological figure, but the truth of the Baghavad-Gita is not diminished by that fact.

I think John the apostle had his finger on the truth about Jesus in John 1:1-14; that there is a "Grand Cosmic Being" (Ruby Nelson's words) which John calls "The Word of God," and that being inserts Himself/Itself into our sphere from time to time to convey information and encouragement. "The Word" becomes flesh, not merely in Jesus, but in anyone who is available and willing. Or so we perceive it, since we do perceive whatever happens as being an eventuality in space/time, and cannot for the moment manage to exist outside of that perception. So from our current point of view, "The word" makes an entrance, manifests, becomes apparent -- whatever terminology works. Once beyond this plane we will have a differnt perspective on it. C. S. Lewis does a good job of describing this in his "space trilogoy," notably in the first volume, Out of the Silent Planet.

So whether Jesus of Nazareth existed or not, the Word of God exists, the One Whose name is simply I AM, and somehow gets his message across to us anyway.

Searching for the "historical Jesus" in the New Testament can be an extremely frustrating pursuit, because there are so many inconsistencies and contradictions in the accounts that it is clear we are hearing a combination of half-remembered experiences, myths, legends and rumors about someone who made a really big impression at the time but has been gone a long time. Makes the whole effort rather empty in the long run; especially when one may simply be still and hear the Word of God speak right now.

Jai Ram
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"I can at best report only from my own wilderness. The important thing is that each man possess such a wilderness and that he consider what marvels are to be observed there." -- Loren Eiseley

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Speculum
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Re: If ... If ... If ...

Postby Speculum » January 24th, 2010, 6:55 pm

I agree absolutely.

I have long been fascinated by the machinations of disciples, devotees, followers, apologists, opportunists, and the like in the spiritual arena, and that's probably why I enjoy these kinds of books. As the supermarket comic book puts it, "enquiring minds want to know".

there is a "Grand Cosmic Being" (Ruby Nelson's words) which John calls "The Word of God," and that being inserts Himself/Itself into our sphere from time to time to convey information and encouragement.


As I see it (and I know you agree), the "Grand Cosmic Being" is all there is, so it is always in "our sphere" (indeed, it IS our sphere), just not always recognized ... because we are too asleep, too distracted, too whatever. As an earlier thread here observes, you have got to "be still" in order to see, to hear, to know I AM. It's always There ... for those with ears to hear, eyes to see. A line I like that I first heard at (I think) Unity Village from the mouth of Wayne Manning is "open and receptive".

Krishna did not exist either


According to Nisargadatta (who insists "I was never born"), Ibn 'Arabi ("thou art not thou"), and so many other Teachers, neither do we!
"The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." Marcel Proust


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