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Old 06-08-2006, 10:23 AM   #41
Kurgan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toms
When i talked about the controversial parts of the novel i wasn't talking about the prioryof scion or the bloodline or any of that hokum. I was tlakingabout the fact i have numerous well respected history professors (as far as i can tell) write articles or present tv shows that gave similar views about mary magdalene and the early church.
It would be helpful to know who these folks are that are claiming support for Jesus' marriage to Mary Magdalane being historically likely. Or that Mary Magdalane was intended by Jesus to be the leader of the early church (over Simon Peter, for example). A lot of tv programs about the DVC and Holy Blood Holy Grail have been made, and I've seen a lot of them, but I don't know of any that showed credible scholars agreeing with the theory, except to say "well he could have been..." as in, he could have been a lot of things, but we don't have any evidence to back that up. Without names or references I really can't look into that...

It's sort of like in the DVC itself. The main characters articulating the conspiracy theory typically say "scholars agree" and "this is historical fact" "all the experts say" etc. but never name or cite these sources (except on one occasion they mention the list of conspiracy sources that began based on the Priory hoax in the 1980's with Holy Blood Holy Grail, non of which of course are scholarly).


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But the mary magdalene = wife/disciple thing is something i've seen in lots of places over the year.
Doubtless, considering the popularity of the DVC since 2003 has produced a plethora of tv specials, articles, books, etc. Before that it was the Templar Revelation that produced all the supposed connections to Leonardo da Vinci's paintings, and before that it was Margaret Starbird, and before that it was Baigent and company's writings. But it's really taken off in the last three years due to Dan Brown.

That she was a disciple was never in doubt, that's virtually spelled out in our earliest records, the New Testament, so nothing new there. It's the "wife of Jesus" thing that we have no support for. Lots of wishful thinking and speculation in the latter half of the 20th century to the present of course...


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I've always thought that was interesting, and much more interesting than the possiblity of kids... which is pretty irrelevant imho.
It certainly is, the trouble is it has no historical credibility, so it's just one of countless "possibilities" of the imagination...

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Jesus having human decendents that have long since become absorbed into the mass of humanity has no real impact on anything. I never thought it was much of a "shock ending" or anything.
Agreed.

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Jesus having wife/female disciples has much more of an impact in that it overrides all the stupid arguments about men only priests, celibacy, women staying at home etc.. (the celibacy thing being something that cropped up in some strange extremist offshoot and then migrated to the main church if i remember rightly).
We have first century Jewish examples of celibacy such as the Essenes. The Gnostics were more extreme in that they actually "forbid marriage" (and thus some scholars believe the apostle Paul is actually referring to some early version of them in his writings) as something evil.

Celibacy in the Catholic church was always an ideal, one that came to a head in the middle ages as a way to counteract secular control of the clergy (nobles tended to be married, but monks were celibate, so by requiring celibacy in the West, Kings couldn't easily sneak their friends into ecclesial office) and also had other practical benefits like preventing the complications of inheritance and the distractions of family life away from insitutional loyalty. To this day it remains a discipline, rather than a doctrine, so it could be changed if the Vatican decided to. Deacons are married, priests are not.

However in the Eastern Rite Catholic churches (in full communion with Rome), celibacy is optional for clergy (it may be required for bishops though now that I think of it, just not priests). The Orthodox church similarly does not require celibacy of its clergy (and since they split with the Roman Catholic church in 1054, this is pretty close to that time of reform in the West anyway).

Anyway, if Jesus' words in the gospels are accurate, he is endorsing celibacy "for those who can accept it." It's a debate anyway, but that Jesus himself was married at all remains speculation at best.

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Most importantly it might actually be a good indication that jesus was what he claimed. Because for a son of god who theoretically would have known all about the past and future and not been bound by the expected social standards of the time he sure does seem to have been a pretty old fashioned, stuck in the past kind of guy.
Many scholars believe Jesus was an apocalyptic prophet (which seems reasonable enough an assumption from many passages in the Gospels). Its well known by scholars that many of the apocalyptic teachers of the first centuries promoted celibacy or were celibate. If the present age is soon coming to an end, why bother starting a family? Jesus promoted the idea that in "the Kingdom" there is no marriage like we have on earth, so no point in starting one now if it will be irrelevant. And if Jesus knew the future, why get married when he knew he'd be widowing his wife and orphaning any children (which was a lot more serious in those days than it is today for us in the 1st world) when he died on the cross?

Sure you could come up with ways why he'd be married and to explain why the Gospels seem to contradict this idea, etc, but again, it's speculation, not anything based on historical evidence. It seems perfectly reasonable to assume that he, like other apocalyptic prophets, deemed marriage something unnecessary to his mission.

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If you want to believe in jesus in a modern age its much better to be able to believe that he actually was a more enlightened god... and that his image has been altered over the years by his contempraries aplying their own social standards and issues. Its sure better than the alternative..
Well, but aren't we thus modifying Jesus based on our social standards and issues as well in doing this? We can't concieve of a sane person willingly giving up sex, so we assume Jesus wouldn't do that either. That's actually been a major criticism of the various quests for the Historical Jesus, that it's far too easy to tinker with the figure of Jesus until we conclude with one that ends up looking almost exactly like us (or how we'd wish ourselves to be). So we have Jesus looking like a 21st century liberal academic, for example.

Anyway, to sum up, we just don't have any evidence in favor of his marriage, and much against. So this type of thing remains speculation. If we want to argue the merits of clerical celibacy, or women's roles in the churches today that's another matter entirely, but doing responsible history is its own discipline.


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Old 06-08-2006, 10:54 AM   #42
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The thing that got me in the movie was Langdon's (Hanks') line : "It's not impossible."

I know that the story is fiction. I read somewhere that Brown said it was fiction as everyone has said. I took this movie as a big "what if". Again, could Christ have had a family? Possibly. It doesn't really matter to me if the Christ of the Bible was or wasn't fully a human. What made Christ important were, as with any prophet, his teachings. As a student of history (student, not expert), I gave up on organized religions a long time ago. I have seen too many examples of contradictions i.e. "Thou shalt not kill" --> "To kill an infidel is not murder, it is the path to Heaven". These are just my thoughts and opinions, take them as there are.

The movie/book...

Brown got somethings right in his "research". If anyone is interested in the Knights Templar, I reccomend The History of the Knights Templar by Charles G. Addison w/ the intro by David Hatcher Childress. Addison claims to be a member of the remaing Knights Templar. There is no mention of the Priory of Scion, however, Childress does metion that the KTs were might have been "part of a secret movement to restore the Merovingian kings" (the bloodline of Christ). Childress does not back it up but I haven't finished reading the book yet either to see if Addison confirms/denies this.

Fact: KTs did become wealthy during the Crusades. They basically ended up financing the Kingdom of Jerusalem through trade.

Fact: The KTs were "hunted" by the King of France Philip IV with the permission of the Pope in the early 1300s. While the Grand Master (Jaques de Molay) and many of the members were killed, almost all of the KTs possesions disappeared before the King's troops could find them.

Childress also continues to say that while the KTs had a massive fleet at sea, they all disappeared after the KTs were outlawed in France. Childress says that others have done the research and say that the KTs could have found safe hiding in Scotland. This has ties to Braveheart but it's more than I can post at the moment.

The point is that Brown did do some "research" and does use some historical fact. However, I put research in quotes because I question how much of the research he actually did compared to others that might have done it. I think he pulled a Hollywood, got a bunch of ideas, threw in a few historical facts, added a few explosion and guns, and came out with a book/movie.


This is just my opinion....
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Old 06-08-2006, 11:24 AM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinWalker
For that to be true, it would imply that the Jesus myth is, indeed, a myth to begin with! A "bloodline" implies the correct number of chromosomes, etc. If J was born of a virgin, he only had 23 chromosomes (a feat that isn't possible in human genetics) or he was an exact clone of his mother (making him a woman and unable to have married M. Magdaline) with copies of her 46. -Where did he get his Y chromosome?
Or his mother lied to Joseph in order to not be caught out about her affair.
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Old 06-08-2006, 01:39 PM   #44
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Dagnabbit, again, post deleted (stupid library computer).

I'll try to reconstruct what I was saying:


Skinwalker, the "Jesus myth" (theory that Jesus of Nazareth never existed) is advocated by a tiny minority of scholars (Price, Doherty, Carrier). Most historians accept the historical existence of the man, as he's as well attested as any ancient figure who was not an Emperor or other world leader would expect to be.

So assuming these fringe theorists know something that the vast majority of scholars (including non-religious scholars) don't is quite an assumption. I was able to locate one scholar who allegedly believes Mary Magdalane and Jesus were married, Barbara Thiering. She's considered a fringe theorist as well and her controversial interpretative method (known as "pesher") has been heavily criticized by Geza Vermes (a prominent and respected Dead Sea Scrolls scholar).

Of course these folks have way more credibility than the Priory conspiracy theorists, none of whom are scholars in the relevant fields.

Anyway, the bloodline thing wouldn't necessarily prove anything about a "Jesus myth." If he's capable of miracles, he could have miraculous children too, couldn't he? Anything is possible, but historians don't deal in supernatural claims, so it's irrelevant.


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Old 06-08-2006, 01:56 PM   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by manoman81
The thing that got me in the movie was Langdon's (Hanks') line : "It's not impossible."

I know that the story is fiction. I read somewhere that Brown said it was fiction as everyone has said.
He said the thriller plot and characters were fiction (which is obvious to any sane person), it's the "historical background" which he claims is factual. He claims to believe it is accurate. I can post the interview quotes, video, etc if you really want me to...

Quote:
I took this movie as a big "what if". Again, could Christ have had a family? Possibly. It doesn't really matter to me if the Christ of the Bible was or wasn't fully a human. What made Christ important were, as with any prophet, his teachings.
Well, accoring to Brown the Bible doesn't represent Jesus' teachings, since it was written by Constantine for political purposes, 300+ years after Jesus died. He claims Jesus' real teachings were suppressed and hidden, but can be found in the Gnostic writings and Dead Sea Scrolls (of course, the DSS have nothing to do with Jesus, and the Nag Hammadi writings were written much later than the New Testament writings and contain Gnostic theology, which Brown clearly does not understand).


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The movie/book...

Brown got somethings right in his "research".
Proof that miracles exist.

Quote:
If anyone is interested in the Knights Templar, I reccomend The History of the Knights Templar by Charles G. Addison w/ the intro by David Hatcher Childress. Addison claims to be a member of the remaing Knights Templar. There is no mention of the Priory of Scion, however, Childress does metion that the KTs were might have been "part of a secret movement to restore the Merovingian kings" (the bloodline of Christ). Childress does not back it up but I haven't finished reading the book yet either to see if Addison confirms/denies this.
I don't know about the book you're describing, but Peter Partner's "The Knights Templar and their Myth" comes recommended to me as a fine debunking of many of the conspiracy theories and legends about the Templars.

Quote:
Fact: KTs did become wealthy during the Crusades. They basically ended up financing the Kingdom of Jerusalem through trade.
Sounds right.

Quote:
Fact: The KTs were "hunted" by the King of France Philip IV with the permission of the Pope in the early 1300s. While the Grand Master (Jaques de Molay) and many of the members were killed, almost all of the KTs possesions disappeared before the King's troops could find them.
Apparently the Pope objected, but was forced to agree. Not that the ailing Pope could have done much to stop the King anyway. As far as their "possessions disappearing" I don't know about that. Does that imply they were hiding the secret "grail documents"? Sounds fishy to me, if that's the claim being made.

Quote:
Childress also continues to say that while the KTs had a massive fleet at sea, they all disappeared after the KTs were outlawed in France. Childress says that others have done the research and say that the KTs could have found safe hiding in Scotland. This has ties to Braveheart but it's more than I can post at the moment.
I thought the remaining Templars were absorbed into other orders. They weren't ALL murdered/tortured obviously, only the leaders and anyone who resisted. When the order was dissolved the remainder were absorbed into other orders or went back into civilian life. Of course the claimed ties of the modern day Freemasons to the Templars are apparently purely legendary.

Quote:
The point is that Brown did do some "research" and does use some historical fact. However, I put research in quotes because I question how much of the research he actually did compared to others that might have done it. I think he pulled a Hollywood, got a bunch of ideas, threw in a few historical facts, added a few explosion and guns, and came out with a book/movie.
His research seems to have consisted largely of reading conspiracy books and then adding to them out of his own imagination. That's fine, but then he comes in public and claims it's fact. Millions of fans believe him, and that's why you have a controversy.


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Old 06-08-2006, 02:19 PM   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurgan
Skinwalker, the "Jesus myth" (theory that Jesus of Nazareth never existed) is advocated by a tiny minority of scholars (Price, Doherty, Carrier). Most historians accept the historical existence of the man, as he's as well attested as any ancient figure who was not an Emperor or other world leader would expect to be.

So assuming these fringe theorists know something that the vast majority of scholars (including non-religious scholars) don't is quite an assumption.

[...]

Anyway, the bloodline thing wouldn't necessarily prove anything about a "Jesus myth." If he's capable of miracles, he could have miraculous children too, couldn't he? Anything is possible, but historians don't deal in supernatural claims, so it's irrelevant.
Archaeologically speaking, Jesus didn't exist. Not one single artifact exists that can be attributed to him: no buttons from his clothes; no writings by him; no pottery created by him; not one single, measurable or weighable item. But that, in itself, isn't evidence that an individual named Jesus did not exist. It seems reasonable to me, even as an atheist, that a person named Jesus may have existed. Indeed, there may have been many named Jesus. One or more may have been a "teacher." It seems likely that there may even have been a cult leader that the Jesus myth is built off of. But there exists evidence that the myth that exists as Jesus was completely invented!

One thing that was very popular among prehistoric and proto-historic peoples of the Near East and Aegean/Mediterranean regions (as well as cultures everywhere, really) was hero worship and the borrowing of hero icons and deities of other cultures. There are analogs in the deities of Near Eastern cultures that match up to Greek gods and deities (and vice versa). One such example is the iconography of Aphrodite has which has its origins in Ishtar and Astarte of Near Eastern cultures. The Roman goddess Venus has her origin in the history of Aphrodite.

While there are many, many other examples of this borrowing (and by "borrowing," it has to be recognized that if such themes of modern literature were borrowed to such extent –accusations of plagiarism would ensue), I'll focus on one that is relevant to the topic.

Take this theme: a handsome young man in long hair and a beard that brings a new religion to the people; he's doubted by many and is alleged to be born of a mother who was a virgin and a father who was a god; he claims to bring salvation to the people and his followers are offered the opportunity to be "reborn" through baptism; he is slain but finds himself resurrected and his followers celebrate their salvation by eating his body and blood in the form of bread and wine; and his name means "the twice-born."

The deity described above isn't Jesus –its Dionysus, who first appears on Linear B tablets that date to 1700-1100 BCE. Dionysus is adopted by the Romans around 200 BCE as Bacchus. The deity is then adopted by Christians, so it would seem, at around the first few centuries CE. Interestingly enough, there was another culture that shares characteristics with the Dionysus deity: the Egyptian god Horus. Horus was worshiped thousands of years before the alleged time of Jesus and its alleged that the followers of Jesus "borrowed" from the Horus myth in creating their own Jesus version.

The foster father of Horus was Seb (Jo-Seph) and his mother was Meri, but was the sun of the god Osiris. His foster father's ancestry was of royal descent and ancient Egyptians were known to have reenacted the birth of Horus at a winter solstice festival where a manger containing a child was paraded through the streets. Witnesses of the birth were shepherds and three solar gods (perhaps they were wise gods?). Horus was baptized (as was Dionysus) by Anup the baptizer. Horus was slain by crucifixion, accompanied by two thieves, descended into hell and was resurrected 3 days later. Horus had 12 followers (ReligiousTolerance).

But let us not forget Buddha, who was born of the virgin Maya; or Krishna who was born of a chaste virgin. And so on. Many of the same similarities exist with each of these deities of man that were worshipped as gods long before the Jesus myth was created.

Sure, there are some points that can be quibbled about a given interpretation of one bit of iconography or another. Tekton Apologetics Ministries gives a treatment to each of these and more. Their motives are understandable, but their results are less than convincing.

Most of this I typed from my memory of the gods and iconography involved. Where I've used dates, I've also gone from memory, so if I'm off a bit I'm happy to accept correction. I used Wikipedia to provide ready places of information available to anyone that reads this thread, but I can recommend some academic sources in the way of archaeological texts should anyone request a more in-depth look. The one exception to the themes I wasn't completely familiar with and don't currently have access to primary sources for is the Horus analog to Jesus. That Religious Tolerance placed it on their website is meaningful, since they've been relatively objective in much of their information to date. I just haven't poured through enough Egyptian mythology as yet and cannot offer more than what is alleged. I know Horus had a core group of followers akin to aposltes, but I couldn't tell you where it's mentioned that there are 12, for instance.


References

Parallels between Jesus and Horus, an Egyptian God.
Greek Mythology – Wikipedia
Dionysus – Wikipedia
Horus - Wikipedia


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Old 06-08-2006, 02:26 PM   #47
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i haven't seen the movie, or read the book, but it all sounds like a load of **** to me. i mean, i don't even know what the friggin book is about, much less the plot. friends of mine at skol read it and say it's good but i dunnno. the basing the elements of the story on "factual" happenings kinda says something about what the author is writing. i mean, if he has to write in there "everthing in this book is based on Historical Events", then it's probably a load of monkey's.


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Old 06-08-2006, 02:41 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by Kurgan
He said the thriller plot and characters were fiction (which is obvious to any sane person), it's the "historical background" which he claims is factual. He claims to believe it is accurate. I can post the interview quotes, video, etc if you really want me to...
That's ok. I've read enough of what he has said.

Quote:
Well, accoring to Brown the Bible doesn't represent Jesus' teachings, since it was written by Constantine for political purposes, 300+ years after Jesus died. He claims Jesus' real teachings were suppressed and hidden, but can be found in the Gnostic writings and Dead Sea Scrolls (of course, the DSS have nothing to do with Jesus, and the Nag Hammadi writings were written much later than the New Testament writings and contain Gnostic theology, which Brown clearly does not understand).
Agree with 100%. However, with the advent of the Gospels of Judas, new ideas about that era are always refreshing thoughts and debates (still waiting to see if the G of J are officially real or not. Have my doubts).

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Proof that miracles exist.
Meh, maybe.

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I don't know about the book you're describing, but Peter Partner's "The Knights Templar and their Myth" comes recommended to me as a fine debunking of many of the conspiracy theories and legends about the Templars.
I'll have to look into that book. The only real reason why I mentioned the one I have is because Addison claims to be a KT. His portion was written in 1842. Childress did the intro in 1997 and revised it in 2001. Something tells me that there may be another revision due to DVC. Guess we'll have to see.

Quote:
Apparently the Pope objected, but was forced to agree. Not that the ailing Pope could have done much to stop the King anyway. As far as their "possessions disappearing" I don't know about that. Does that imply they were hiding the secret "grail documents"? Sounds fishy to me, if that's the claim being made.
I've heard that too. There's so much interpretation of what actually happened that I think no one knows for sure if the Pope was forced or readily agreed. As for the possesions disappearing, I meant that everything that was in their domiciles were gone when the French troops showed up to arrest/capture the KTs. The KTs seemed to have disappeared like ninja the night before.

Quote:
I thought the remaining Templars were absorbed into other orders. They weren't ALL murdered/tortured obviously, only the leaders and anyone who resisted. When the order was dissolved the remainder were absorbed into other orders or went back into civilian life. Of course the claimed ties of the modern day Freemasons to the Templars are apparently purely legendary.
Who honestly knows for sure? If you look back in history, there has been so much destruction of places that may have held archives or records of info that could answer the question of "where did they go?" I mean here in the US we still have the mystery of the colony at Roanoke, NC I believe. People were there, and then the next time a ship stopped, the whole colony was completely gone. From what I have read, what the KTs eventually began to believe in was similar to the Freemasons ideas (I haven't sat down and tried to research much of it though). Don't quote me on it though.


Quote:
His research seems to have consisted largely of reading conspiracy books and then adding to them out of his own imagination. That's fine, but then he comes in public and claims it's fact. Millions of fans believe him, and that's why you have a controversy.
Again, fully agree with you. I did a semester long research paper on the movie Kingdom of Heaven last fall (which is what really got me interested in the Crusades and pre-renaissance mid-east, thus the KTs). I came to the conclusion that, if KoH is taken for what it is (a movie, thus entertainment), it's an ok movie. But if taken for historical fact, it is nearly completely wrong aside from a basic timeline. Taking the DVC for fact is a mistake and an insult to every historian that has done real research for the real facts about what happened in ancient times.

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Originally Posted by Royal Guardian
i haven't seen the movie, or read the book, but it all sounds like a load of **** to me. i mean, i don't even know what the friggin book is about, much less the plot. friends of mine at skol read it and say it's good but i dunnno. the basing the elements of the story on "factual" happenings kinda says something about what the author is writing. i mean, if he has to write in there "everthing in this book is based on Historical Events", then it's probably a load of monkey's.
If you haven't seen the movie or read the book, then what is your point of refernce?

@Skinwalker: Beware of Wikipedia But you bring up good points about how a person may or may not have existed according to archeologists. And I agree with on the borrowing of other religious ideas between cultures. Just look at what the Romans took from the Greeks.


This is just my opinion....
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Old 06-08-2006, 02:48 PM   #49
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@Skinwalker: Beware of Wikipedia But you bring up good points about how a person may or may not have existed according to archeologists. And I agree with on the borrowing of other religious ideas between cultures.
Agreed, but the points I made -with exception to the reiteration of the Horus explanation on Religious Tolerance- I can back up through other, primary sources. I linked to the Wiki articles because they concurred and I have verified their veracity for your convenience. Should anyone wish another source -a primary source from peer-reviewed literature, I'll be happy to oblige.


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Old 06-08-2006, 06:39 PM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinWalker
Archaeologically speaking, Jesus didn't exist. Not one single artifact exists that can be attributed to him: no buttons from his clothes; no writings by him; no pottery created by him; not one single, measurable or weighable item. But that, in itself, isn't evidence that an individual named Jesus did not exist. It seems reasonable to me, even as an atheist, that a person named Jesus may have existed. Indeed, there may have been many named Jesus. One or more may have been a "teacher." It seems likely that there may even have been a cult leader that the Jesus myth is built off of.
Okay, you start off well here. Not letting polemic get in the way of facts, good.

I should say up front that I dislike the term "Jesus Myth" because to me a myth is a sacred story full of symbolism to teach a lesson about life. But a lot of people use "myth" to mean "deception" or "lie." What is commonly called the "Jesus Myth" is the belief by a small group of scholars (and a small, but dedicated following of non-scholars) that Jesus of Nazareth (or Yeshua bar Yosef, if you prefer) was not a historical person, but concocted whole cloth as an amalgamation of various pagan "savior" figures and legends. Similarly, the Christian religion itself is an amalgamation of religions pieced together (usually the "Mystery Cults" are blamed). Its primary "life" on the internet has been as a polemical tool by non-believers to use "against" Christianity, to say that their religion is based on a lie.

Unlike the DVC conspiracy, there are actually a few scholars who propose it is truthful, though they are few.

Of course it should be pointed out that this has nothing to do with proving the supernatural, since history doesn't deal in that, we're only dealing with claims and beliefs, where they may have originated and whole believed them, based on documentation or other evidence. Of course proving the historicity of a person of antiquity is also a bit of a trick. But you know that, I'm just setting up some more of that sort of thing to preface my comments.

Quote:
But there exists evidence that the myth that exists as Jesus was completely invented!
Well, this should get interesting...

Quote:
One thing that was very popular among prehistoric and proto-historic peoples of the Near East and Aegean/Mediterranean regions (as well as cultures everywhere, really) was hero worship and the borrowing of hero icons and deities of other cultures. There are analogs in the deities of Near Eastern cultures that match up to Greek gods and deities (and vice versa). One such example is the iconography of Aphrodite has which has its origins in Ishtar and Astarte of Near Eastern cultures. The Roman goddess Venus has her origin in the history of Aphrodite.
Fair enough, some "borrowing" did happen in the realm of religion, in history.

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While there are many, many other examples of this borrowing (and by "borrowing," it has to be recognized that if such themes of modern literature were borrowed to such extent –accusations of plagiarism would ensue), I'll focus on one that is relevant to the topic.
Of course it is assumed by Jesus Mythers that evidence of borrowing in terms of Christianity refutes its validity as a religion (or at least that is how it is polemically used by its proponents). But I won't dwell on that, because let's face it, it's an appeal to motive. The truth of falsity of the theories claims don't rest on the beliefs (or lack of belief) on those using them or claiming them. Again, just wanted to preface a bit more.

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Take this theme: a handsome young man in long hair and a beard that brings a new religion to the people; he's doubted by many and is alleged to be born of a mother who was a virgin and a father who was a god; he claims to bring salvation to the people and his followers are offered the opportunity to be "reborn" through baptism; he is slain but finds himself resurrected and his followers celebrate their salvation by eating his body and blood in the form of bread and wine; and his name means "the twice-born."

The deity described above isn't Jesus –its Dionysus, who first appears on Linear B tablets that date to 1700-1100 BCE. Dionysus is adopted by the Romans around 200 BCE as Bacchus. The deity is then adopted by Christians, so it would seem, at around the first few centuries CE.
Except portrayals of Jesus as a handsome bearded young man don't appear until many centuries later (unless you buy the "veil of Veronica" legend as historical, that would be about the 7th century). Christians associated Jesus with the "prophecies" of second Isaiah, and a passage like Isaiah 50:6 is probably where the idea that Jesus had a beard came from, of course it isn't so amazing to assume he had one, in those times.

As far as the "pagan convert theory" I would first point out that ReligiousTolerance.org is hardly a scholarly site. Their stated goal is to promote "tolerance" and that includes portraying multiple sides of an issue, and alternate viewpoints, quoting lots of people, regardless of the veracity of the things the different people are saying. Interestingly enough, the very page you quote (which is often quoted in "Jesus Myth" discussions I've found) itself contains a this passage:

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Reactions of Egyptologists:

Ward Gasque, a volunteer book reviewer for Amazon.com surveyed twenty contemporary Egyptologists. He asked them about the origins of Jesus' name, the relationship between Horus and Jesus, whether both experienced a virgin birth, and whether the Egyptian religion considered Hourus to be an incarnation of God.

Ten responded, They agreed:

-Jesus' name is a Greek form of a very common Semitic name Jeshu'a, which is normally translated into English as Joshua.

-There is no evidence that Horus was born of a virgin, that he had twelve disciples, or that he was considered incarnation of God. 2
I'm assuming they meant this Ward Gasque, a theologian, also here, here, and here.

As far as the wiki pages are concerned, it's probably safer to quote the links they provide to check the sources, since the factual accuracy of some of those pages, especially on such a controversial topic, is often problematic, but you knew that.

Some articles on the subject:

Bruce Metzger Methodology In The Study Of The Mystery Religions and Early Christianity

An interesting page from Richard Carrier (himself a sympathetic Jesus Myther) points out the flaws in Kersey Graves' The World's Sixteen Crucified Saviors

Bede.org's index of articles on the 'Jesus Myth'

See section on "Pagan Borrowing" (from "History Vs. the Da Vinci Code")

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Sure, there are some points that can be quibbled about a given interpretation of one bit of iconography or another. Tekton Apologetics Ministries gives a treatment to each of these and more. Their motives are understandable, but their results are less than convincing.
According to whom, the fringe theorists who buy into the "Jesus Myth"? (or did you just mean in your own opinion)

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Most of this I typed from my memory of the gods and iconography involved. Where I've used dates, I've also gone from memory, so if I'm off a bit I'm happy to accept correction. I used Wikipedia to provide ready places of information available to anyone that reads this thread, but I can recommend some academic sources in the way of archaeological texts should anyone request a more in-depth look. The one exception to the themes I wasn't completely familiar with and don't currently have access to primary sources for is the Horus analog to Jesus. That Religious Tolerance placed it on their website is meaningful, since they've been relatively objective in much of their information to date.
It would be good to have those scholarly sources, yes.

I'd contend that Jesus' teachings and beliefs about Jesus emerged out of the Hellenistic Jewish mileiu of the first centuries (Nickelsburg, Boyarin, Vermes). At least that seems evident from my studies thus far (admittedly, I'm only 1/3rd done with my masters, so I'm appealing to scholarly authority).

Since we're spiralling rapidly away from the Da Vinci Code, if you like we can split this off... I didn't originally intend to "Defend Christianity from All Comers", I only meant to post some educational material about the DVC for anyone interested, but thanks for the discussion anyway.


Time to hit the submit button before the computer eats this one... apologies for clutter!

Edit: Links fixed.

Looking back, I also shouldn't have referred to Earl Doherty as a "Scholar" as in fact he is apparently not qualified in any relevant field, but is merely another independent writer who was inspired by G.A. Wells, a german teacher who was one of the popularizers of the Jesus Myth theory in the modern era (who has since modified his views somewhat).


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Old 06-08-2006, 10:14 PM   #51
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Maybe not so much a "Defend Christianity from All Comers", but I could go for a serious open, historical debate on the relgions/ideas that came from the mid-east. I always seem to learn better when I'm in an open forum. Some of this may come in handy later down the road.


This is just my opinion....
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Old 06-09-2006, 07:50 PM   #52
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Thanks Skin, that was driving me batty. I think it's the way the keyboards at the library are shaped, the alt buttons are too big for my hands, so I often accidentally hit them and they "select all" and thus delete the entire post with a single keystroke (plus they often get overloaded at key times of day with all the people on).


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