I'm not talking about my gardener, Jesús.

There are three basic views of the Biblical Jesus. First is the religious Christian view, second is the secular historical view, that holds that Jesus was a real person, but not the Son of God. The third view is that Jesus never existed.

The religious Christian view takes the Gospels as accurate and reliable accounts of the life of Jesus, including all of the miracles. The religious Christian view states that Jesus Christ was a popular and well known figure in the region, who drew crowds of thousands of people and performed great miracles, and who was such a revolutionary and controversial figure that the Jewish priesthood was compelled to have him arrested.

The secular historical view, which may also be held by some Christians, takes the Gospels as exaggerated accounts of the life of a real Jesus. The secular historical view basically starts with the Gospels and then removes the fantastic or "supernatural" claims in the Gospels and accepts what is left as history. The secular view tends to minimize the role of Jesus in the region, stating instead that he was hardly noticed by others. Secular historians who believe that Jesus existed rely on the Gospels as essentially historical, but inflated, accounts of his life.

The third view is that the story of Jesus is, in essence, an allegory -- not the story of a real person. An allegory is a symbolic narrative. Allegorical writing was prominent in the Greek speaking world from about the 5th century BCE onward, but there was a particular revival of allegorical writing in the 1st century CE among both Jews and Neo-Platonic Greeks and Romans. The Jewish writer Philo wrote about symbolic and allegorical interpretation of the Hebrew scriptures shortly before St. Paul began writing his first letters about Jesus.

The basic concept of a "savior", who is born of a virgin, dies and then arises from the dead is much older than the story of Jesus. It existed in many cultures prior to the Jesus story. The Egyptian god Horus from 3,000 BCE was born of the virgin Isis, also known as Meri, on December 25. Many cultures have similar gods born of a virgin on December 25th, for example Attis of Greece, Krishna of India, Dionysis of Greece and Mithra of Persia. There are literally dozens of virgin-born gods in known history.

By the way, the Jewish Messiah has nothing in common with the Christian savior concept. The Jewish Messiah would not be born of a virgin, die and then be resurrected, and certainly would not be a son of God, which is considered blasphemous under Hebrew laws and teachings. The Jewish tradition holds that the Messiah will be a man -- not a god -- probably a great general and a descendant of King David. The Messiah would bring on a new "Messianic Age," that is an age of enlightenment where wars, crimes and man's inhumanity to man will cease.

To this day, not one single piece of contemporaneous evidence has ever been found to prove that Jesus ever existed. The first Gospels, which were written in Greek -- not Hebrew or Aramaic, were written decades after Jesus' purported death. If you are interested, His name was not Jesus, which happens to be the Greek form of Joshua. His name, if He ever existed, was "Yeshua ben Youssef". "Yeshua" is Aramaic for Joshua. "Ben Youssef" means "son of Joseph."

Comments

David Dodd July 25, 2011 @ 3:47 a.m.

You're pretty Goddamn smart, Fulano. You put this piece into some sort of context, I'd buy it. We're not supposed to have any proof that Jesus ever existed, by the way. It's faith, my friend. We're supposed to believe without having any evidence. But your research is sublime, never-the-less. Great job.

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Radical Uterus July 25, 2011 @ 8:04 a.m.

I prefer the personal reference Je'sus, or in extreme gratitude "Gee-zus."

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Fulano de Tal July 26, 2011 @ 12:03 p.m.

I could tell you about an interesting little experience about that. I was living in Germany in 1968 when the Beatles released their song, "Hey Jude." For the unaware, "Jude" means "Jew" in German. I knew that the Beatles worked for years in German pubs before they hit the big time. Since I could only receive German rock music radio stations on my old VW's AM radio, I went around for a few weeks wondering why the Beatles would name a song "Hey Jew," until I happened to hear it on the BBC.

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David Dodd July 26, 2011 @ 3:15 a.m.

Named my son Joshua. And I'm not even Greek.

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