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Historicity Of Jesus - Printable Version
Historicity Of Jesus - Printable Version

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Historicity Of Jesus - dhu - 08-03-2007

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->One of the reasons that the comic element of the many Jesuses was not noticed previously is that early in Christian history a redactor made an editorial change to the name of the New Testament character known today as Barabbas. Barabbas is a composite word made up from the Hebrew bar (son) and abba (father), which is to say "son of the Father." While the character is known today simply as Barabbas, this was not his name in the version of the New Testament early church scholars were familiar with. We know from Origen (c. 250 C.E.) and others that the versions of the New Testament they were familiar with referred to this character as not as Barabbas but as Jesus Barabbas.

<b>Origen wrote concerning his dismay over the fact that the name of the criminal when Jesus was imprisoned with was "Jesus Barabbas," that is, Jesus, the son of the Father. </b>Although he did not recognize the name as humorous, he sensed intuitively that there was The Puzzle of the Empty Tomb  something wrong with Jesus' cellmate having a name so similar to his own. This concern was evidently shared by later church officials
because all the earliest extant copies of the New Testament (Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, Vaticanus) refer to this character only as Barabbas. However, based on modern scholarship, both the New English Bible and the Scholar's Version116 have decided to give Jesus Barabbas as the name of this character in their translations. pg 148-9<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Historicity Of Jesus - dhu - 08-04-2007

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->JUVENAL Decimus Iunius Iuvenalis, satirical anti-Semitic poet
active in the first century C.E. He coined the well-known expression
"bread and circuses" to describe how the emperors would please the
populace.  (Appendix p 341)

Transformation of theory into narrative is the first indication of normative thought process:

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Keane, Catherine.
<b>Philosophy into Satire: The Program of Juvenal's Fifth Book

Philosophy into Satire: The Program of Juvenal's Fifth Book Catherine Keane Washington University in St. Louis Abstract The Satires of Juvenal's fifth book constitute an important chapter in the satiric genre's dialogue with philosophy. The parodic consolatio (Satire 13) introduces a cynical and erudite satiric speaker who manipulates conventions to create a virtual dramatic exchange. An examination of the rhetorical structure and philosophical influences in the remaining poems, which are less often discussed, reveals a consistent program. <b>Satires 14-16 all have "plots" derived from specific texts or themes of philosophical literature: i</b>n each case, Juvenal exploits a conflict or ambiguity in his sources to spin a satiric narrative. The scholarly literature on Juvenal's Satires is disproportionately concentrated around the "angry" Books 1 and 2 (Satires 1-6). These poems certainly contain Juvenal's most explicit programmatic commentary, and they introduce revolutionary changes to the poetics and politics of the satiric genre.^1<b> Meanwhile, the third, fourth, and fifth books (Satires 7-16) have been read as extended illustrations of Juvenal's changing rhetorical style: having abandoned the angry mode, the poet experiments with irony, detachment, and cynicism in succession.</b>^2 This rhetorical approach to interpretation has established that the individual books exhibit distinct personae, but our understanding of Juvenal's evolving approach to satiric composition is still limited. Braund's detailed study of persona and allusion in Book 3 has not prompted similar investigations of Books 4 and 5, which have been described both as diffuse...<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Historicity Of Jesus - dhu - 08-05-2007

I just spent the past few days pouring over google searches of Caesar's Messiah and Joseph Atwill. Da Vinci Code with its medieval timeline is just a ruse to hide the real work being done.

We need vast resources to monitor and influence the situation; which has potential to completely destroy the west and Christianity both.

from atwill's forum:

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The question I have is, given the above, why is there so little research into Christian origins within the imperial cult, and so much in 'Mystery' religions?


Because normativity is a western philosophical product and it is desperately needed to push the blame for the original error into the mideast.

Historicity Of Jesus - dhu - 08-11-2007

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The the times of the Jewish War are all about military siege, starvation, torture, and death.  Those were the times, after Herod rebuilt the temple, and before and during the time the Romans destroyed it.

Where Passion of the Christ emphasizes the ostensible cruelty of the Jews and uses extreme brutality to create dramatic effect, the Da Vinci Code employs a kind of troubador romanticism to enchant and puzzle.

I see it as something closer to the style of Fellini, ala Roma, grotesque, unspeakable, a Satyricon.  Cannibalism, murder, theft, rape, horror.  That's the way it was, so why not show it?

<b>Seen from the man in the street's point of view, Rome was at war, much as the world is at war today, and ironically, chillingly in the same places.  </b><i><b>The Romans were jokers and game players.  Morbidity and fantasy mixed with irony, stir in a little sarcasm, boil with every conceivable combination of sexuality, stir well and serve hot.  </b>
I think Gladiator is a recent film that touches on the style and scent of Rome, and the TV series 'Rome' is another. So, realism is a good way to go.

Start with Titus in a boat on lake Genesareth hacking away at demoniacs with his sword, his troops dragging them aboard to be slaughtered.  His comment: "Why, it's like being fishers of men."  Mark my words, at that point Christians will get the connection.

Next we see Titus leading his troops at the Siege of Jerusalem.  We go inside the walls and see the horror of a community having been besieged for months.  They feast on their dead, dragging them from tombs if necessary.  In this hideous condition, Mari divides her child and eats half of it.  Show it.

Now, perhaps we cut to the Gospels, and talk of the portion Mari kept for herself.

To hold the plot together you need a hero, and a timeline.  The hero could be Josephus.  A narrator would permissible - must be Ian McKellen.  Can't you see the film opening with Ian's voice over an aereal swoop over lake Genesareth?  "Titus, son of Vespasian, emperor of Rome."  Gotta roll them R's!  Cool.  Everyone knows the Romans spoke the Queen's English!

Anyway, those are just some thoughts.  I think there is a lot of material here, which may be an understatement. 

But to make a movie you need backers, and the makers of the Da Vinci Code, although hopelessly benighted they may be, are as open as anyone will ever be to the romance and truth of religious history.  There is potential for romance in the setting and the relationships - Titus and Berenice for example.

So, the key here is to get your book in front of the eyes of the backers and producers and especially the screenwriters of the DaVinci Code.  Find the thinkers in the group.  Talk to Dan Brown if you can.  I think these guys would be open to a radical new thing like this, maybe not this year or next, but definitely within the next three to five.

Go for it!

Nelson  <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Historicity Of Jesus - Shambhu - 08-16-2007

<!--QuoteBegin-Solomon+Apr 3 2007, 11:20 AM-->QUOTE(Solomon @ Apr 3 2007, 11:20 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Dear Friends,

An excellant analysis of the Trends on Researches and Books of Jesus is by Shri.Sitaram Goel -"Jesus Christ: An Artifice for Aggression" and the book is fully available at
This would be one great book of all times.
Devapriya solomon

Goel's book is great! I read 3 chapters online via the link above..

Historicity Of Jesus - dhu - 08-17-2007

The satirical aspect was picked up by Dr. Elst.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The entry in Jerusalem is doubtlessly the result of increased excitement: psychically, Jesus is on fire.  <b>For laymen as well as for theologians, there is something painful and absurd about this entry.</b> Isn�t the psychotic streak all too obvious here?  <b>Hirsch calls the parade on the donkey �absurd and ridiculous� and Schweitzer too finds it painful.  </b>It is only enacted to fulfill the Messiah prophecy, secretively and for the eye of his followers. <b> It may be sad or tragic-comical that the buffoon-king is making his entry this way.  </b>Nowhere is the purposeless nature of psychotic activity more in evidence than in the entry in Jerusalem: his acts lack any logic.  What does Jesus want?  He is tossed this way and then that way.  Worldly power?  Yes and no. <b> Messiah claim?  Yes and no.  Defiance and death wish?  Yes and no�</b>

Psychology of Prophetism

Historicity Of Jesus - dhu - 08-17-2007


I recently finished reading a book that gave me a better understanding of Josephus's works.  It's call Josephus and the New Testament.  The author is Steve Mason.

Particularly interesting is a chapter titled "Josephus and Luke-Acts," wherein the author compares the two and posits that "Luke" must have read or heard at least parts of Josephus' works, as he mentions many of the same people and incidents in much the same way.  He feels that <b>Josephus's main purpose in writing the Antiquities was to show the Jews as basically legitimate, cultured members of the Roman Empire (the rebellion being the work of a few troublemakers)and Judaism as a "philosophy" or collection of philosophies, not unlike those current in the Greco-Roman culture.  </b>And the author sees Luke-Acts as a similar attempt to legitimize Christianity as yet another member of the Jewish collection of philosophies.  The author points out that if "Luke" did know the works of Josephus then Luke-Acts can be dated to the mid-90s AD or later, for Josephus completed the Antiquities in 93 AD.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Historicity Of Jesus - dhu - 08-17-2007


I believe that the correct question is:

In light of the analysis in CM is there anything in the Pauline corpus that doesn't fit under the Titus umbrella?

Take, for example, Paul's conversion. He is killing members of the 'Way' then has an epiphany and starts converting them to ‘Christ Jesus’. Isn’t this what happened to the Flavians?


Historicity Of Jesus - dhu - 08-17-2007

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The most telling aspect of the Pauline literature is its relationship to the Roman authority. In every case it indicates that obedience to Rome is correct. But the messianic movement that was widespread enough to drive the Roman legion out of Judea held that obedience to Rome was sinful, therefore where does Paul’s perspective come from? And why does Paul discuss a battle with messianic Jews over ‘dietary regulations’ and not one concerning the real issue of the era, the role of the Messiah in the struggle with Rome? That is the issue that would have been salient to messianic Jews in the fifties and sixties CE.

The Pauline literature is not simply fake, it is absurd.


Historicity Of Jesus - dhu - 08-18-2007

Greek/Roman transformation happened almost a millenium before Arab/Egyptian transformation. In neither case were Jewish proselytizers responsible. In fact, universality is not a Jewish trait.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Exactly. <b>The Ptolemys replaced the Semitic god/man Pharaoh during their rule over Egypt as a way of subduing the populous </b>and thus the Romans had a precedent for their becoming the Jews’ Messiah.

They also understood the power of ethnicity and so cast the authors of the new Judaism as Jews – Jesus, Paul, Josephus etc.

The new Jewish canon they produced was ingenious, but the overall scheme was old hat.


atwill forum <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Historicity Of Jesus - dhu - 08-18-2007

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Fresco fragment revives Papal scandal
"Pope Alexander VI, the notorious Borgia Pope  from Spain,
discredited the Church by his debauched lifestyle.

He fathered seven children, including Lucrezia and Cesare Borgia,
by at least two mistresses. "

"The painting showed Alexander kneeling in front  of the Child
Jesus and the Virgin Mary, whose face, according to documentary
evidence from several contemporary sources, was that of one of
his mistresses, a handsome young Roman noblewoman called
Giulia Farnese. "

Is this the Pope's child shown in the painting?<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Historicity Of Jesus - dhu - 08-21-2007

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Chapter: Eleazar Lazarus: The Real Christ

I first noticed that there is a parallel between the two Mount of
Olive captures in terms of the relative time when they occur. The
New Testament's capture takes place immediately before Jesus, the
symbolic temple of the New Testament, is destroyed. The Mount of
Olives capture in War of the Jews likewise takes place immediately
before the destruction of the temple. However, whereas the identity
of the man who was captured on the Mount of Olives in the New
Testament is well known, in Josephus' version the captured individual
is described only as a "certain young man."

I wondered if it might be possible, as 1 had with the demoniacs
of Gadara, to learn the name of this "certain young man." It was during
the effort to determine this that the way in which the New Testament
and War of the Jews use parallelism to identify their unnamed
characters finally became clear to me.

This use of parallelism came directly from the Hebrew Bible
and, in a sense, its use in the New Testament was to be expected. As
the authors of the New Testament borrowed concepts such as the
Exodus, the Passover lamb, and the Messiah, it was logical for them
to copy its use of intertextual parallels as well.

<b>The Hebrew Bible was structured as an organic whole and can
be thought of a "a series of concentric circles with some interlocking
rings," as Freedman puts it.</b>" For instance, the Torah and the
book of Joshua (which together form the Hexateuch) have an overall
mirror-image literary structure in which the main themes of
books from Genesis up to Exodus 33 are then mirrored in parallel
structures in the books from Exodus 34 to Joshua 24.

The creators of the Hebrew Bible also used structural parallels
at a micro level. For instance, in a technique known as pedimental
composition,100 two passages that contain many parallels are used
to provide a literary "frame" by sandwiching a third central passage
between them—for example, Leviticus 18 and 20 provide such a
"frame" for the central passage in Leviticus 19. <b>The consequence of
these traditional literary techniques is that the Jewish reader does
not read a text in what might be thought of as a rational, straightforward,
and linear manner. On the contrary, the Jewish reading is
intertextual. The use of similar phrasing, formulas, places, clothing,
and so on are used to create layers of associative meaning, as contrasts,
and to provide continuity and color. </b>In some cases the authors
create what Robert Alter has called "type scenes" —so, for example,
Abraham's servant meeting a young woman by a well is then
later paralleled by Moses meeting a young woman by a well, and the
reader is invited to contemplate the similarities, differences, and

<b>In Hebrew literature, these typological relationships are a source
of open-ended speculation and debate. </b><b>To the Romans this perhaps
seemed part of the barbarous mysticism that provoked the Jewish
Zealots to revolt.</b> <span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'><b>So they "improved" the nature of their parallels in
the New Testament from the open-ended types found within the
Hebrew canon to ones that were very precise in their logical and
chronological relationships, and in the identities that they reveal.</b></span>

<b>The authors of the Gospels were very aware of the typology in
Hebraic literature and were, in effect, showing that they were able to
produce a more perfect, more complex form of it. </b>Moreover, there
was a profound irony in the authors' requiring the Gospels and War
of the Jews to be read in the manner of Judaic literature in order to
learn that they had created a false Judaism.

The insight that Josephus was using typological parallels
occurred when I noticed that Josephus' tale regarding the capture of
the unnamed "certain young man" on the Mount of Olives is parallel
to another passage within War of the Jews, the passage above, in
which Eleazar is whipped and escapes crucifixion. Josephus identified
the two stories as being parallel by having each passage tell the
same story, their only differences being in location and that the "certain
young man" is unnamed in the Mount of Olives version.

For clarification, I present the following list of the parallels
between the two passages:

  In each, besieged Jews are encircled by a wall.
  In each, the Jews attack the siege wall.
  In each case the Romans foresee the attack.
  In each, a Jew is literally carried away by a single Roman in a
    manner that is physically impossible.
  In each, the man who is carried away is in his armor.

Within the works of Josephus there are thousands of passages.
These are the only two that share these parallel characteristics. Josephus
thus notified the "intelligent reader," that is, the reader with a
good memory, that the two stories are parallel. Further, there is a
simple point of logic that the authors require the reader to apprehend,
this being that since the passages are parallel, the unnamed
"certain young man" who is carried away in one must have the same
name as the "certain young man" named Eleazar who has the same
experience in the other.

The passages are also the start of a comic theme that Josephus
and the New Testament develop regarding the Messiah who was captured
on the Mount of Olives. This theme, which I refer to as the
"root and branch," begins with the last sentence in the passage
above from War of the Jews. Notice that the translator (William
Whiston) places brackets around the words that he uses to describe
the punishment of the unnamed "certain young man" captured on
the Mount of Olives "(with death)."

Whiston used this device to notify the reader that he was deliberately
mistranslating the Greek words Josephus wrote in order to
render what seemed a more coherent reading. The Greek words he
is translating as [with death], kolasai keleusas, are translated literally
as "commanded to be pruned." "Pruned" is, of course, a word that
describes a gardening activity. Thus, Titus did not order the "certain
young man" to be put to "death," as Whiston's translation reads, but
to be "pruned," a word used quite logically on the Mount of Olives.
"Kolasai" was used by the Greek naturalist Theophratus in the
fourth century B.C.E. to describe the pruning necessary to cultivate
wild plants. His work on plants was often referenced by individuals
from Titus' era such as Pliny and Seneca, and specifically covered the
process by which wild olive trees could be transformed into cultivated
ones.102 Theophratus was the scientific ancestor of Pedanius
Dioscorides, the Roman scientist and physician who accompanied
Vespasian and Titus to Judea and was a key part of the theme of
comedy concerning the "root and branch." 

<i>pgs 104-6</i><!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Historicity Of Jesus - dhu - 08-24-2007

The author makes special mention of India:

(Roman Piso, 05/27/02)

(1) Catholic. The first thing that I would like to talk about regarding Christianity having been created Catholic is just what the word "Catholic" means. It means "universal," as in universally accepted. This was a prime concern of those who were creating Christianity because they wanted to use the newly created religion as a means to maintain control in lands in which Rome had hoped to conquer. To this end, Christianity was developed around the idea of pre-existing religion and deities in those other lands which Rome was hoping to conquer.
That is a part of the reason that the story of Jesus was written as it was; so as to already be familiar in those other lands. But what is the other evidence that Christianity was originally created Catholic? Well, those who created it are now known to us and they include Arrius Calpurnius Piso (who wrote as Flavius Josephus) and Pliny the Younger. To us scholars who research this these two are very much the dynamic duel. What the link is in finding out how and why Christianity was created as it was originally is to be found in the use of the phrase "the whole habitable earth," and in variants of this phrase (i.e., "the habitable earth").

The reason? Because this is exactly what "Catholic" meant. And we find that phrase used in the New Testament itself, and especially in the works of Flavius Josephus, and also in the works of Pliny the Younger. All of these works are tied together by many correlations that exist between them, including references in the works of Pliny the Younger’s epistles and the works of Flavius Josephus which have lines and phrases that are particular to the New Testament. The phrase "the whole habitable world," is found used in various places within the New Testament, including Hebrews 2:5, and Rev. 3:10.

(2) Saints. If we look to the New Testament itself, we will find the proof of this. All of the evidence that I am presenting in this short examination is based upon that which is found in the earliest known New Testament texts themselves. The Catholic version of Christianity has recognized "saints" from the very beginning of Christianity and has kept a record of the all since that time; other versions of Christianity have not. The records of such saints have been recorded and preserved by the Catholic Church ONLY. Others may have ‘borrowed’ from those records and may have cited or used references to saints whenever it was convenient for them to do so. But the fact of the matter is that the actual records of such saints were kept only by the Catholic Church – from the very beginning of Christianity. That is because Catholicism IS the original Christianity.

(3) Church Records. It is also the Catholic Church which has been the ONLY Christian Church that has preserved the early Church records such as the writings of the early Church "martyrs," the early Church Fathers, and the early Church correspondence between Popes and various rulers, etc. Why was there no other Christian Church doing the same thing? Because no other one existed.

(4) Popes. And this brings up the idea of Popes. No other version of Christianity has a Pope. However, this is something that started right from the beginning. What has caused some confusion is in the fact that at the very beginning of the creation of Christianity the first Pope was not called "Pope" in the New Testament. But that is a minor technicality because if we examine the first Pope we find that is given the equivalent title to that of Pope both in and out of the New Testament texts. That first Pope was "Peter" (who was actually Arrius Calpurnius Piso). It is only a matter of deduction to figure out that "Peter" was the first Pope and that that Pope was acknowledged in the New Testament. Meaning, that the New Testament was created with the idea of a Pope in mind; it was created Catholic.

The Catholic (Christian) Church was founded in Rome by the first Holy Father or "Papa" (later to be known as "Pope"), the bishop of Rome - Peter ("upon this "rock" [Peter], I will build my Church," said Jesus). And so, by becoming the first Pope Peter (Arrius) established a precedent that continues to this day. It is "Jesus" who gives the keys to Heaven to St. Peter (that is, to himself!) in Matt. 16:18-19.

(5) Confession and the Confessional. This too, was original to Christianity as recorded in the New Testament itself. And, by the way, this was a Roman invention incorporated into the religion as a means to gain confidential information from believers who were unaware of what their information was being used for (political reasons) and thinking that their confessions were confidential they would not mind telling all that they knew about many things. Being privy to all of this information, the Catholic Church would have a huge amount of power over various people and events. Thus, being able to manipulate things to their advantage. You can find "confession" being spoken of in the New Testament (Hebrews 4:14; 10:23).

(6) Sacred Heart. Have you ever wondered where the concept of the "Sacred Heart" of Jesus came from in Catholicism? It is based upon the knowledge of there being key words used in the New Testament which have alternate meanings. This was something that was done by the original authors of the New Testament themselves. As I had just said above, the two authors to look to for answers to the creation of Christianity are a) Flavius Josephus, and b) Pliny the Younger.
It is Pliny the Younger that tells us that the way that lines or passages were written/composed were with "an alternate version written BETWEEN THE LINES." This is his exact statement, and he was not only referring to his epistles, but to the New Testament as well (Pliny the Younger, Loeb Classical Library edition, (Epistles), Book I, pg. 511). So, knowing this, and having examined these key words and their alternate meanings (I have listed those that have been found so far and how they were found) one finds that the word "heart" has been made synonymous with "stone," and therefore, with "stone" being synonymous with "phallus" and/or "Jesus" it makes perfect sense.

(7) The Sacrament. This too, being a Catholic tradition, was original to Christianity. That is seen in the giving of the little wafer of unleavened "bread" and of the sacramental wine (which is sometimes given in the form of grape juice). These are representative of the "body" (unleavened bread) and "blood" (wine) of Christ. However, we know what the bread really refers to and that is the bread that was made of or with human dung and thrown over the walls of Jerusalem by the Romans during the siege of Jerusalem in the year 70 C.E. (A.D.) while the Jews (Pharisees) were inside starving to death. And the "blood" is really "semen" as that is what the word "blood" was made synonymous with.

(8) Paul. And to be "Catholic" they had to do away with the Jewish requirement of circumcision. And that was a major part of the creation of the character "Paul" in the New Testament. It would be very difficult to get people to accept circumcision if that was not already a part of their culture and so, even though "Jesus" was supposed to have been Jewish* the point had to be made that the NEW religion was to be a NEW "covenant" or agreement with God so that they could have the excuse of not requiring circumcision in the Christian religion.

<b>(9) India. One of the main regions that Rome had hoped to conquer was India. The creators of the Christian religion had taken several of the major themes of the Indian religion and had incorporated them into the Christian religion so that in anticipation of their conquering India, the citizens there would accept the new religion easily.</b> And again, this is why they made Christianity "universal" or Catholic to begin with. Even though the Romans were never successful in conquering India, their intent was quite clear.

Actually, I have a great deal more information about Christianity originally being created Catholic. These points are enough to illustrate that this was the case and will suffice for now. Cheers!


Historicity Of Jesus - acharya - 08-24-2007


Historicity Of Jesus - dhu - 08-24-2007

You are saying that Christianity is fake or the author's analysis is fake?

Historicity Of Jesus - acharya - 08-25-2007


Historicity Of Jesus - dhu - 08-25-2007

Just to clarify, the author "Roman" of Post #73 is different than Atwill.

Historicity Of Jesus - Guest - 08-25-2007

<!--QuoteBegin-acharya+Aug 24 2007, 11:55 AM-->QUOTE(acharya @ Aug 24 2007, 11:55 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Fake
Yeah, I'm really not aware of any Roman ambitions to conquer India.

Historicity Of Jesus - dhu - 08-25-2007

Even the Greek clowns had that ambition. The Romans could not even get past the Parthians, but could they not engineer a long term plan? Even Islam had the ambition of India conquest since day 1, which was laid down explicitly in Koran/hadiths. We do not consider Islam to originate as a sect of Jews, then why give the status of Jewish sect to Christians without proof. This is where Atwill comes in.

Historicity Of Jesus - dhu - 09-03-2007

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Review of <i>The Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark</i>
(by Dennis R. MacDonald; Yale University, 2000)

An Incredible Book

This is an incredible book that must be read by everyone with an interest in Christianity.  <b>MacDonald's shocking thesis is that the Gospel of Mark is a deliberate and conscious anti-epic, an inversion of the Greek "Bible" of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, </b>which in a sense "updates" and Judaizes the outdated heroic values presented by Homer, in the figure of a new hero, Jesus (whose name, of course, means "Savior").  When I first heard of this I assumed it would be yet another intriguing but only barely defensible search for parallels, stretching the evidence a little too far—tantalizing, but inconclusive.  What I found was exactly the opposite.  MacDonald's case is thorough, and though many of his points are not as conclusive as he makes them out to be, when taken as a cumulative whole the evidence is so abundant and clear it cannot be denied.  And being a skeptic to the thick, I would never say this lightly.  Several scholars who reviewed or commented on it have said this book will revolutionize the field of Gospel studies and profoundly affect our understanding of the origins of Christianity, and though I had taken this for hype, after reading the book I now echo that very sentiment myself.

Background and Purpose of Mark

MacDonald begins by describing what scholars of antiquity take for granted: anyone who learned to write Greek in the ancient world learned from Homer.  Homer was the textbook.  Students were taught to imitate Homer, even when writing on other subjects, or to rewrite passages of Homer in prose, using different vocabulary.  Thus, we can know for certain that the author of Mark's Gospel was thoroughly familiar with the works of Homer and well-trained in recasting Homeric verse into new prose tales.  The status of Homer in basic education remained throughout antiquity, <b><span style='color:blue'>despite the fact that popular and intellectual sentiment had been sternly against the ethics and theology of his epics since the age of Classical Greece. Authors from Plato (400 b.c.e) to Plutarch (c. 100 c.e.) sought to resolve this problem by "reinterpreting" Homer as allegory, or by expunging or avoiding offensive passages, neither of which was a perfect solution.</span>

... </b><!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->