Yeshu ha-Notsri as founder of Christianity–Pt. 5: The young prophet

NOTE:     In the preceding post we began to construct a biography of the early first century BCE prophet Yeshu ha-Notsri from Jewish rabbinical records. Though Jewish/Talmudic references to Yeshu are few, when viewed together they permit one to construct the outline of a radical, courageous, and successful prophet in Judea who was so hated and feared by the Jewish religious authorities that they arrested him, tried him for apostasy, and executed him.      Parallels with the later Jesus of Nazareth of the New Testament are obvious. Not only did Yeshu’s biography certainly influence the canonical storyline, it may also surprise readers that the names are identical: Yeshu ha-Notsri translates directly to “Jesus the Nazarene,” as I explain here.      This post continues to … Continue reading

Yeshu ha-Notsri as founder of Christianity–Pt. 4: The ancient Jewish evidence

Note: It is no coincidence that the Mishna and Talmud preserve most of the information we have about Yeshu ha-Notsri (correctly translated “Jesus the Nazarene”!), for the prophet’s entire life was intimately enmeshed with the Jewish religious establishment of the early first century BCE. He grew up a highly-educated Pharisee groomed for the Sanhedrin, but astonishingly repudiated his Jewish heritage as a young man in Egyptian exile in favor of a foreign (some would say ‘Buddhist’) form of gnosticism. Yeshu then returned to Israel and preached with alarming success, was excommunicated by the Sanhedrin, arrested, tried, and executed for apostasy according to rigorous stipulations of Jewish religious law. All of these elements are attested in Talmudic records.      As we have … Continue reading

Yeshu ha-Notsri as founder of Christianity, Pt. 3: The strange witness of Epiphanius

     For at Christ’s arrival the rulers in succession from Judah came to an end. Until his time the rulers were anointed priests, but after his birth in Bethlehem of Judea the order ended and changed with Alexander, a ruler of priestly and kingly stock. After Alexander this heritage from the time of Salina—also known as Alexandra—died out under King Herod and the Roman Emperor Augustus.      (Epiphanius, Panarion 29.3.3, Williams edition.) Scholars have ever found this passage inexplicable. Epiphanius wrote his Panarion about 375 CE, and it is entirely bizarre that the bishop of Salamis in Cyprus would date Jesus to the time of Alexander Janneus. Epiphanius writes that after Jesus’ “birth in Bethlehem of Judea the order ended and changed … Continue reading

Yeshu ha-Notsri as the founder of Christianity, Pt. 2: The witness of ibn Daud

     The historical works of the Jews state that this Joshua b. Perachiah was the teacher of Jesus the Nazarene [ישׂו הנצרי]. If this is so, it follows that he lived in the time of King Janneus. However, the historical works of the gentiles state that he was born in the days of Herod and crucified in the days of his son Archelaus. Now this is a significant difference of opinion, for there is a discrepancy between them of more than 110 years… [The gentile historians] argue this point so vehemently in order to prove that the Temple and kingdom of Israel endured for but a short while after his crucifixion. However, we have it as an authentic tradition from the Mishna … Continue reading

Yeshu ha-Notsri as the actual founder of Christianity–Pt. 1: Introduction

Readers who have followed my writings over the last decade or so are aware—from the book NazarethGate (final chapter) and on this website—of my thesis that Yeshu ha-Notsri was the historical founder of Christianity (e.g., see here). Yeshu lived in the early decades of the first century BCE (not CE!), thus exactly one century before the putative Jesus of Nazareth. Unlike Jesus of Nazareth, however, Yeshu is a prophet known to non-Christian literary records dating back to antiquity. That datum is critical, for the same cannot be said for Jesus of Nazareth. Over the last century, Jesus mythicists have scientifically shown that early attestations for the man from Nazareth are, without exception, either Christian forgeries or late Christian interpolations. The … Continue reading

The Gospel of Barnabas—Chp. 76

[Click HERE for the color coding scheme. Opens a separate tab.]         The Parable of the Three Vinedressers 43. [Jesus said] “I will give you an example. There was a man who had three vineyards which he let out to three vinedressers. Now, the first vinedresser did not even know how to cultivate a vineyard, and it brought forth nothing more than leaves.      “The second vinedresser taught the third how the vines ought to be cultivated. And the third vinedresser carefully listened and cultivated his vineyard as he was instructed, so that his vineyard bore much fruit.      “Now, though the second vinedresser instructed the third, he left his own vineyard uncultivated, spending his time solely in talking.      “When the time came to … Continue reading

The ancient battle over ‘fake news’: the heroes Judas and Thomas become villains

In this post I present some very brief reflections on the Gospel of Thomas. Thomas the Twin. Thomas was the quintessential messenger of truth in early Christian gnosticism. The name appears twice in the Gospel of Thomas, once in the title at the end of the work, and once in Saying 13, where Thomas outshines both Peter and Matthew: Jesus says to his disciples: “Compare me, and tell me whom I am like.” Simon Peter says to him, “You are like a just angel!” Matthew says to him, “You are like a wise man and a philosopher!” Thomas says to him, “Master, my tongue cannot find words to say whom you are like.” Jesus says, “I am no longer your … Continue reading

In memoriam: Dr. Hermann Detering—Pt. 1

With great sadness I learned yesterday of the passing of Dr. Hermann Detering, an event that took place already over three months ago. In translation from the Italian, the post from Pier Tulip reached my FaceBook timeline as follows: For those who may be interested: Dr. Hermann Detering, one of the great scholars of the New Testament, died on October 18, 2018. I only learned of it today. His work is only readable in German and English.Let me say that I’ve had several exchanges of ideas with him—one of the very few who, like me, proposes the Buddhist origin of Christianity.For those who read English, there is a long commentary written by René Salm on his page.Here is the link to … Continue reading

H. Detering, “The Gnostic Meaning of the Exodus”—A commentary (Pt. 38)

→ Table of Contents Conclusions Dr. Detering’s overall conclusion                  [I translate his final section in toto below. Emphases are added.—R.S.] [Dr. Detering writes:] Beginning with the gnostic interpretation of the Exodus motif and the question of its origin, we have arrived at an element of critical importance: the metaphor of transcendence, expressed figuratively as [reaching] the “other shore”—which plays a central role in Indian/Buddhist spirituality. The question of where the two trajectories intersect—Jewish tradition/Hebrew Bible on the one hand, and Buddhist/Indian spirituality on the other—led us to the Therapeutae, about whom Philo of Alexandria reports in his De Vita Contemplativa. Once the Buddhist origin of the Therapeutae is seen as plausible, it can be shown that their central mystery consisted of … Continue reading

H. Detering, “The Gnostic Meaning of the Exodus”—A commentary (Pt. 36)

→ Table of Contents The Transfiguration In a short section (pp. 62–64) of his paper, Dr. Detering reveals that the Transfiguration scene in Mk 9:2–8 primarily serves to answer the question: Who is the true prophet predicted in Jewish scripture (Deut 18:15)? Three candidates are at the top of the mountain: Moses, Elijah, and Joshua/Jesus. The answer that comes from heaven is clear: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”—and only Jesus/Joshua is seen to be still there, while the other two Old Testament figures have disappeared. Consistent with the rest of his paper, Detering argues that the “Jesus” of the scene was, in the earliest stratum of the story, not “Jesus of Nazareth” but Joshua ben Nun—the … Continue reading