[Marxism] Which prophets really existed ?

dan d.koechlin at wanadoo.fr
Thu Sep 27 17:36:32 MDT 2012


Joseph Catron wrote :
 >>"Without much knowledge of the non-canonical literature, I agree that
multiple, competing schools of Christian thought arising, within a matter
of decades, around the legacy of someone who never existed, in any sense,
is an unlikely enough scenario that it's hard to understand its appeal."<<

This is becoming an Aristotelian dispute of substance versus attributes. 
If you define substance as the sum of attributes, then the Gospel 
narrative (the ONLY SOURCE we have about "Jesus" written 70, 80, 100 or 
120 years "later") do not bring into existence the "JESUS AS WE NOW 
DEFINE HIM". He can have a "substance", meaning he is very, very vaguely 
modelled on a historical person, but then that substance had no 
"attributes".
Virgin Birth : NO (not possible)
Descendant of David (and thus "Messiah of the Jews") : NO (genealogies 
are conflicting and "David" also mythical)
Miracle worker : NO (not possible)
Famous quotes : ? (a dime a dozen)
Death on the cross : ? (a dime a dozen)

Most interestingly, Paul NEVER MENTIONS ONE FAMOUS GOSPEL QUOTE. Paul is 
blissfully unaware that Jesus was born of a virgin, that he said "Love 
thine Neighbour", that he healed the sick : his epistles do not contain 
ANY REFERENCE TO THE GOSPEL NARRATIVE. This has troubled Christians for 
2000 years : how could Paul, the greatest Apostle, never make any 
reference to the stories of the Gospel APART FROM a) Jesus died on the 
Crosss to atone for the sins of Mankind and b) he said "eat of the bread 
for this is my body, drink of the wine for this is my blood".

So there were sects, Jewish and Gentile, who believed in one JESUS. Just 
as there were sects who believed in SETH, OSIRIS, APIS, SOPHIA, 
DIONYSOS, THOMAS, ... This is obvious. What the name "Jesus" meant was 
only defined much later when the Gospels were finalized (a very lengthy 
process which incorporated a lot of different material
from many local oral traditions, each story, each myth, each saying, 
coming from Jewish or Greek Pagan or Levantine lore). In rural areas of 
the Levant, YHWEH was either the supreme being or, more likely, a member 
of the Pantheon, the "Bet Din" of Heaven. Sometimes he was Baal, 
sometimes Moloch, sometimes Dagon, sometimes a mixture of these, he 
often, as the Patriarch of the Gods (El Elyon) had sons who died and 
resurrected (Osiris whose dismembered body was eaten in the form of 
bread once a year, Attis, and all the myriad syncretic variations thereof).
Judaism was still in the process of defining itself as a strictly 
monotheistic religion, and this process was localized to some areas and 
some social classes from Alexandria to Baghdad despite the claims that 
Israel had had only one God since the return from Exile. Swathes of 
Israel and Lebanon were still worhsipping their own syncretic version of 
the Almighty.

Then there were the Jewish wars, Bar Kochba's rebellion, the Zealots who 
provided more garbled material to the narrative. "Give onto Cesar" "Oh 
JErusalem ! I weep for thee"

Then there is the "people who survived crucifixion" theme, which can be 
found in Greek and Latin "novels" and the whole passion story so 
reminiscent of the gory dismemberment stories (Dionysos, etc.). What can 
be more PAgan, more non-Pharasee Jewish than "eat this bread for it is 
my body, drink this wine for it is my blood which was given unto you to 
atone for your sins" ?

So if "Jesus" was in substance (devoid of ALL attributes) a historical 
figure, then he can be whatever you or I want him to be, social 
activist, wise man, philosopher, etc. And this was so from the very 
beginning, as is demonstrated by the fact that everything the gospels 
tell us is a clumsy synthesis of oral traditions that are often 
contradictory.

If you take "Jesus the anti-Roman agitator" to be vaguely historical and 
all the rest to be accretions, then you are cherry-picking.




More information about the Marxism mailing list