The Natsarene (“Nazarene”) Religion – Pt. 3

The background In the first two posts in this series I argued that a human prophet lay at the root of the Christian religion—certainly not ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’ This prophet taught a rigorous code of personal fulfillment out of step with both Hellenism and Judaism, yet conforming in fundamental ways with the uncompromising ethics and search for enlightenment (gnosis) found in Buddhism. The proof of these statements lies in a body of sayings preserved in the Christian scriptures themselves. Those sayings—which I have numbered at about 150—comprise a coherent body of material in tension with both the Jewish worship of Yahweh and with the Hellenist ethos of man’s domination over the material world. These “core” sayings are inward-looking and socially … Continue reading

The Natsarene Religion – Pt. 1 (Salm)

The thrust of Jesus mythicism is to establish that Jesus of Nazareth did not exist—he was an invented figure. Much ink is now being spilled demonstrating this and—even in the unlikely case that the question were settled by scholarship in the next decade or so—acceptance of Jesus mythicism by the general populace will probably require several more decades. However, showing that Jesus of Nazareth did not exist as an historical figure is not the end of the road. There are some, myself included, who strongly suspect that a human prophet was ultimately behind various Christian, Mandean, and Gnostic writings of late antiquity. I call this view semi-mythicism. Perhaps the prophet in question was John the Baptist. Perhaps he was the … Continue reading

Ten steps to the birth of Christianity: My view

1. A PREACHER (“Teacher”) is born in Palestine towards the beginning of the common era. He claims to have found answers to the ultimate questions facing mankind and attempts to teach others the “Way” to understanding and fulfillment. His teachings conform to the Gnostic type and are fundamentally secular—the exercise of human reason and the application of effort towards the “understanding of life” (Mandaic: manda d’hayye).   2. THE REBELLION: The Teacher challenges the religious institutions of his time and place (as did the Buddha and Zoroaster before him). He considers Jewish teachings useless and misleading: cant, rite, sacrifice, and obedience. Though born a Hebrew, he rebels against Judaism. 3. THE BEGINNING OF A NEW RELIGION: Some followers listen to … Continue reading

Loisy disappoints

A Review of Le Mandéisme et les Origines Chrétiennes (Paris: Nourry, 1934) I just finished reading Alfred Loisy’s book on Mandeism. It was a disappointment. Given the high regard that many mythicists retain for Loisy, this came as something of a surprise. Yet, the little I have personally interacted with Loisy’s work has, admittedly, been less than satisfactory. I feel it’s time to give my reasons and to call Loisy out. From the Mythicist Timeline: – Listed in the Timeline as a Jesus “skeptic,” Loisy was a historicist and is often termed a “modernist.” He was excommunicated (1908). – Loisy argued that, though Christianity was complex, from the beginning it saw the presence of God in Jesus. – Loisy was … Continue reading

Torrey Part One: The Slain Messiah

The Messiah Son of Ephraim by Charles C. Torrey, PhD. Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 66, No. 3 (Sep., 1947), pp. 253-277 HIGHLIGHTS This important article provides astonishing—and unexpected—insight into the Jewish background of the Christian conception of the slain messiah. I have arbitrarily divided Torrey’s article into five parts. The major points (highlighted in red in the pertinent posts) are as follows: Part 1: – Contrary to general belief, there were two expected messiahs (“anointed ones”) in Second Temple Judaism: the Messiah Son of Ephraim, and the Messiah Son of David. The latter is well known, while the former has languished in obscurity since ancient times, suppressed in both Judaism and Christianity. However, Torrey argues that the Christian messianic … Continue reading

PDF’s

PDF’s are not subject to the Search, Category, and Tag features of this website. Hence, their valuable contents are not available unless one opens each PDF and actually reads it. My hope is to convert these PDF’s to posts/pages as time permits, and thus to make their contents available to the reader via the powerful features that WordPress offers. For now, however, please click on one or more of the following to read the content. (Click on the title “PDF’s” if the list is not visible below.) Nazareth, the Caesarea Inscription, and the hand of God (E. Tuccinardi) (Complete article in English) ––––––––––––––––––– David Fitzgerald, “Ten Beautiful Lies About Jesus” ––––––––––––––––––– The Natsarene and Hidden Gnosis (Salm) A newer and … Continue reading

Mythicists, docetists, Nazoreans (Salm)

The present confrontation between Jesus mythicists and the tradition may seem new to some. Others may suppose that it dates as far back as the eighteenth century, when scholars began to question the historicity of Jesus. However, I suggest in this statement that mythicism is a modern name for ancient docetism—Christianity’s “twin” born along with the religion itself. In his Panarion (29.6.1) Epiphanius writes of a sect of “Nasarenes” whom he denominates as heretics. He writes that “the Nasarene sect was before Christ and did not know Christ.” The Church Father carefully distinguishes these Nasarenes (with sigma) from later “Nazoreans” (with zeta) whom he accepts as “Christians.” Other indications also exist of a pre-Christian movement somehow attached to the Greek … Continue reading