Generally agreed history among laymen has Christianity start with a splinter group of people who believed that a then contemporary figure was the prophesied messiah. Of course mainstream Judaism did not agree because the figure did not comply with the criteria set out in the Tanakh (For an summary of the criteria, please visit http://www.news24.com/MyNews24/Jesus-the-Messiah-Ver-11-20120607). This schism is the beginning of Christianity and centers around this lone figure.
This then contemporary figure has eluded our detection to a large extent in history. Today after many discoveries and new textual critical techniques, history is still very sketchy on our elusive friend. We can glean some semblance of a glimpse in history from Josephus, Celsus, Origen and other writers and I present the following figures:
Jesus ben Phiabi (High Priest during Herod’s temple reconstruction)
Jesus ben Sirach (Writer)
Jesus ben Pandira (Wonder worker)
Jesus ben Ananias (Troublemaker)
Jesus ben Saphat (Led the rebels in Tiberias)
Jesus ben Gamala (Peace activist)
Jesus ben Thebuth (Gave temple treasures away)
Jesus ben Damneus (High Priest in Jerusalem)
Jesus bin Nun (Known as Joshua or Jesus of the fish)
Jesus Barabbas (Released by Pilate. Bar Abba in Aramaic means “Son of the Father”)
Jesus ben Stada (Crucified in Lydda)
From top to bottom we can say that we have a composite Jesus that lived during Herod's time, “wrote” the Gospels, and worked wonders. Rome considered him a troublemaker who led some rebels, some of whom were executed (Martyred Apostles). He stood for peace, but overthrew the tables of the money changers in the temple and is considered the ecclesiastical authority (High priest) of Christianity. His symbol is the fish. He was imprisoned by Pontius Pilate and was later crucified.
But let us look at another aspect of the writers at the time, namely Mimesis. In short, we know from ancient authors who wrote on the subject (Petronius, Quintilian and Pliny), that when learning how to read, the texts students used was Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey. When learning to write their own work, they would paraphrase the verses they read. This paradigm formed the basis of their thinking process and methodology at the time of the writings of Chariton, Longus, Iambulus, Antonius, Diogenes, Philostratus, Achilles Tatius, Heliodorus, Petronius, Lucian and Apuleius. This methodology also had the effect that the original material permeated these writings to varying degrees. This permeation and “cross-pollination” is called Mimesis. The same structure is therefore found in Christian writings and is it by no stretch of the imagination that we find a composite mythical construct that comply with the literary culture of the dying and resurrecting sun god paradigm as I laid out in my adaptation of Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth (http://www.news24.com/MyNews24/Jesus-Myth-20120510). Is it at all strange that we find these concepts in the Greek authored Jesus manuscripts? Writings that needed mystical powers for Jesus to comply with the Christian view of the prophets.
Now let us bring it all together to put this information in perspective. Again from top to bottom we have a Jesus that had to comply with the criteria set out by the prophets (Isaiah, Ezekiel, Zechariah etc) but who also needed to be recognized as a contemporary figure (List above) to lend credibility. This prophesied messiah need to have been endowed with mystical powers to comply with the prophets and through mimesis took on these mythical properties.
Some more coincidence? Maybe.
Now take all this information and put it in the socio-political perspective of Rome when Constantine undertook a mission to create a unified religion to placate a tumultuous population. Pagan rituals and philosophy were assimilated into Christianity and in effect, a huge amalgamation exercise was launched in order to pacify the Jewish, Hellenistic and Imperial boiling pot and to unify the Roman Empire.
So in conclusion we have motive from Constantine to unify the Empire. We have the means through Imperial money and Mimesis. And opportunity through the council of Nicaea. Do some of the words sound familiar? They should. Motive, Means and Opportunity is the basis by which we establish guilt beyond reasonable doubt and we have thus established that Christianity is beyond any reasonable doubt a wholly man-made religion.
If the believer argue that we should discard the evidence in favour of belief, should we then do the same for the judiciary?
Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.