The evolution of the infancy narratives

A New Account of Christian Origins / pt. 24 As noted in prior posts, the evangelist Mark holds an adoptionist point of view. For him, the spirit of God indwells Jesus the Nazarene (“The Savior, the Holy One of God”—Mk 1:24). Mark’s adoptionism conforms with what I have called ‘Stage II’ christology, the conception of the spiritual Jesus dominant in the first century CE. The spiritual Jesus was incompatible with the Catholic conception of God becoming man—the Incarnation. The two christologies are mutually exclusive. If Jesus is a spirit, then it cannot be one particular man, Jesus of Nazareth. The earlier, pre-Catholic conception of a mobile Jesus (the saving spirit of God) entering into worthy people, now here, now there, resulted in … Continue reading

The Protevangelium of James

A New Account of Christian Origins / pt. 22 It may surprise you that the Protevangelium of James is a work uniquely positioned in Christian history for its capacity to shed light on the origin of the canonical gospels. However, that capacity is hardly admitted by the tradition, which classifies PrJames with the New Testament Apocrypha (lit: ‘hidden’)—biblical or related writings not accepted as scripture, i.e., not considered genuine or ‘true.’ Terms such as orthodox, apocryphal, canonical, accepted are self-serving and ultimately depend upon a circular argument: if the Church approves a work (that is, if the work agrees with its theological positions), then the work is ‘admitted.’ But if the work conflicts with the Church’s position then it is ‘not genuine’, … Continue reading

The “Christ”

A New Account of Christian Origins / pt. 10 The preceding post ended as follows: We can imagine the scene, say, in the gnostic Christian congregation of Philippi, ca. 150 CE. The Reader or First Servant stands before the congregation and says solemnly: “My dear brothers and sisters in Jesus: there is great news! Even as some of us suspected, the full power of God entered into a man about one hundred years ago. I have his story here, and it has just arrived. Let us say a communal prayer of blessing, and then I will read to you The Good News According to Markus.” Stunned, wide-eyed silence. The communal prayer was intoned. And then the First Servant proceeded to read The … Continue reading

This blog is now entering ‘sleep’ mode…

Well, it probably comes as no surprise—after all, my most recent post to Mythicist Papers was over one month ago. That post terminated a long, detailed commentary on Dr. Hermann Detering’s recent ground-breaking work linking Buddhism and early Christianity. It is understandable that both Detering’s work and my own have received no acknowledgment from traditionalist Christian circles. However, the present lack of any significant ‘Jesus mythicist’ community places engagement with these incisive views out of reach. Such engagement would have permitted the discussion to go forward. The original—and continuing—purposes of this website/blog are to provide reliable information and objective consideration of Christian origins. Those purposes are as valid today as they were yesterday, and they will continue to be valid … Continue reading

The Hebrew Gospel—Pt. 4

The slide into oblivion We have seen that the Church took considerable pains to erase the Hebrew Gospel from history. The fact that no manuscripts of this text survive is telling. Its annihilation is total. What makes that fact even more astonishing is that GHeb was not always denigrated by the Church. When one reviews the approximately 75 references of the Church Fathers to the Hebrew Gospel, it becomes evident that the farther back in history one goes, the more positively GHeb was esteemed. The converse is also true: with the passage of time GHeb went from being admired, to merely tolerated, then spurned, then denigrated, and finally completely eliminated. The text’s decline was slow—it took approximately four centuries: c. … Continue reading

An Indictment of the Roman Catholic Church (by H.G. Wells) – Pt. 4

          “I think that [the Catholic Church] stands for everything most hostile to the mental emancipation and stimulation of mankind. It is the completest, most highly organized system of prejudices and antagonisms in existence. Everywhere in the world there are ignorance and prejudice, but the greatest complex of these, with the most extensive prestige and the most intimate entanglement with traditional institutions, is the Roman Catholic Church. It presents many faces towards the world, but everywhere it is systematic in its fight against freedom.”         —H.G. Wells, in an interview with J. Rowland, editor of the London Literary Observer (March, 1944).   The conclusion of excerpts from Wells’ book, Crux Ansata:       (P. 109) The history of England since the Reformation … Continue reading

An Indictment of the Roman Catholic Church (by H.G. Wells) – Pt. 3

… Ever since the Church of Rome became rich in the fourth century there has been a spirited struggle for the control of the treasury. As early as 366 more than 160 of the supporters of the rival candidates had to be buried, and as late as 1492 the ‘butcher’s bill’ was more than 200. This struggle is now more refined; though when the Pope says his first mass he still has nobles at hand to take the first sip of the wine and see that it has not been poisoned.    If Pius IX had soreseen the election of Leo XIII he would have excommunicated him, but if Leo XIII had foreseen that at his death the cardinals would vote for … Continue reading

An Indictment of the Roman Catholic Church (by H.G. Wells) – Pt. 2

Excerpts from Crux Ansata (cont.) (P. 22)     As early as the fifth century Christianity had already become greater, sturdier and more enduring than any empire had ever been, because it was something not merely imposed upon men, but interwoven with their deeper instinct for righteousness. It reached out far beyond the utmost limits of the empire, into Armenia, Persia, Abyssinia, Ireland, Germany, India and Turkmenistan. It had become something no statesman could ignore.    …The Church was to be the ruler of the world over all nations, the divinely-led ruling power over a great league of terrestrial states… The history of Europe from the fifth century onward to the fifteenth is very largely the history of the failure of this great idea … Continue reading

An Indictment of the Roman Catholic Church (by H.G. Wells)–Pt. 1

Book review with excerpts Part One H.G. Wells (best known for his science fiction classics War of the Worlds, The Invisible Man, and The Island of Doctor Moreau) penned his provocative book, Crux Ansata: An Indictment of the Roman Catholic Church in 1943 during the Second World War, following the author’s tenure as Minister of Allied Propaganda. Crux Ansata (Lat: “Cross with a handle”) refers to the symbol which in the late Middle Ages came to represent the Christian religion centered in Rome. The book caused an immediate sensation, provoking bitter rebuttals from the Church and conservatives in the West. Such reactions are understandable when one notes that Wells ends with a chapter entitled “Why don’t we bomb Rome?” (In … Continue reading