New Youtube Video

I posted a ridiculously long Youtube video attempting to organize my current thoughts on the advent of Christianity.  View at your own risk!

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Author: Tim...Stepping Out

Tim Stepping Out

9 thoughts on “New Youtube Video”

  1. Only two takes? not bad!

    Some ideas and questions about your theory that I think might help you fill the gaps.

    Where do the Essenes and the Dead Sea Scrolls fit into this? I assume the Essenes are very similar to Nasoreans. I think the Teacher of Righteousness and the Wicked Priest will need some sort of discussion in any theory about Christianity’s evolution even if it is to argue they are a red herring? (which I don’t think they are)

    Between Josiah’s reforms and the emergence of Thadeus is a lot time that you have not covered, so I think you will need to fill that period with more detail. I think Jeff Q’s theories merge very nicely with yours and will fill that gap. So that means looking at Onias’s line and the priestly succession from the time of the Hasmonean dynasty. I am interested to know what conception of a Messiah/Christ these proto-Christians would have had before Thadeus and the Egyptian influence the movement.

    The ‘John the Baptist’ passage, while probably not a feature of the first edition of Antiquities does suggest that this Encyclopedia was being ‘maintained’ from very early times and by a group with some connection to the emerging cults. Josephus was a philosopher, priest and rich – surely his legacy went on beyond his death to a group who maintained his work and had influence on second century religious development. I think that if we assume ‘John the Baptist’ is inserted into Antiquities in the second century, we need to ask who is doing this insertion and what the implications are. We also need to ask why Luke and maybe other Christian writers are such a Josephus geeks. I think it is an area mythcists neglect to explore further, just being happy to say, ‘interpolation’ and not think it any further.

    “Chrestians and Chrestus” – are these Latin references to Nasoreans? If so, the first century proto-Christians have quite a bad reputation which needed some ‘brand management’ work.

    I suppose then the final icing on the cake is to identify when the idea of Jesus being crucified on a cross in the time of Pontious Pilot came about. It does seem to be a shameless fabrication, but I assume there are political reasons for changing the earlier narrative about being hung on a tree and killed by jews. Also, a coherent theory on how the Paul legend developed and fits in. I think the latter issue is even trickier than the evolution of the Christ myth.

    If you do write a book, you will of course be subject to nasty criticism, and you will another ‘computer programmer mythicist’ taking on the scholars. But, as a ‘computer programmer’ you know your work needs to have very few bugs before it can be presented, and you know that readers are like users who will test your code in ways you might not expect.
    Maybe we need to ask the question why so many mythicists are computer programmers (I am one myself!).

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    1. “Where do the Essenes and the Dead Sea Scrolls fit into this?”
      I get to the Essenes via Elxai. Elxai had 2 96 mile tall spirits in the sky which were feminine and masculine, and I think these spirits are compatible with the Spirits that the Ebionites and Cerinthus had, that descended onto Jesus in the form of a dove. The Gnostic Mandaeans remember this spirit as well, but presume it was the lower feminine spirit, Ruha. To the Ebionites and Cerinthus, this Spirit was transient, and I think it’s compatible with Elxai. The fact that Elxai (according to Epiphanius) had Essene, Ebionite, Nazarene, and Nasorean followers is a pretty compelling link, in my opinion.

      I think these various groups met each other in the Diaspora between 65 and 135, as life for Jews in and around Jerusalem was becoming increasingly terrible, given the wars, etc. Specific hotspots were Cyrene, Antioch, and into Egypt. Robert Eisenman makes various links between the Jamesians and the writings in the Dead Sea Scrolls. I honestly haven’t investigated deeply enough to have a strong opinion on the DSS, but I think the Essenes certainly have a different set of concerns than the day’s Orthodoxy did, given some of the writings excavated; however, I think it’s just as plausible that the DSS were simply a deposit spot for various unorthodox groups who were on their way out.

      “Between Josiah’s reforms and the emergence of Thadeus is a lot time that you have not covered”
      That’s right. It’s difficult to know how long these ideas percolated. It could be that there were various pockets between Arabia and Alexandria that remembered and evolved the Melchizadek priesthood for hundreds of years; alternatively, this concern for Melchizadek and pre-Deuteronomic Judaism could have undergone a resurgence after the wars began and the temple was destroyed. We see other philosophical resurgences in this era (middle Platonism, etc).

      “I am interested to know what conception of a Messiah/Christ these proto-Christians would have had before Thadeus and the Egyptian influence the movement.”
      In my view (and I borrow this from M Barker), the Christ was the anointed – the one who had specific access to the anointing oil that came from the tree of life, which encapsulated the Queen of Heaven. The tradition of applying this anointing oil to the high priest’s eyes continued into the 2nd temple era. The return of the Melchizadek priesthood would bring with it the return of true wisdom. This notion of the divine feminine inhabiting the tree is also found in the Nag Hamadi text “On the Origins of the Earth”

      “We also need to ask why Luke and maybe other Christian writers are such a Josephus geeks”
      I believe this is an extension of the first Jesus, who lived in the 1st century BCE, whom Celsus, the Nazarenes, and the Toldoth Yeshu remembered. They went looking through history for people who would have received the Spirit after that Jesus died. This is why the Ebionites, Carpocratians, and Cerinthians (and arguably Paul) believed the Spirit leaves a person before they die. That’s why these groups believed that the man’s spirit was “steadfast and pure” – he must be guided by the Christ to misbehave and to push back against the archons; he would then be killed after the Christ left him, thus creating a violation of the natural laws (that guilty people be killed). This goes back to Mark 3:26 (etc). I think the early Christians were looking for proof of the Christ’s lineage, which is why Jesus ben Ananias, the Egyptian, and Theudas resembled Gospel characters…that’s what I think, anyway. I think Revelation is clearly drawing from Josephus, as well, especially in its reference to the boulders falling from the sky – it was that same boulder that killed Jesus ben Ananias.

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      1. I will need to re-read Kings, but my recollection of Josiah finding a mysterious book is one that reminds me that even as a fundamentalist, this story was not quite right.
        The theme of “Kings” is that of king after king rejects God to worship foreign gods. The good ones ‘do good in God’s sight’ and reject the foreign gods. It is black and white, and the bad ones are not ignorant but willfully disobedient. No ‘good’ King previous to Josiah worshipped Asherah, and neither did Josiah as recorded, until suddenly he discovers the Book of Dueteronomy and finds that everyone had been ignorant of God’s command. Are we to assume that prior to this Josiah was a ‘good’ king who ignorantly worshipped Asherah alongside Yahweh?
        I think this never happened, and that this story is about what would be at the heart of the second temple. It is always convenient that an old book turns up that just happens to provide insight to a modern issue through an earlier encounter. In this case we no doubt have a ‘Book of Deuteronomy’ that is the instruction manual for a monotheistic second temple, but the authority of this book is controversial. However, an ancient record now demonstrates that this book turned up towards the end of the 1st temple era to guide King Josiah towards monotheism – all so very convenient!
        The controversy concerning Asherah would be something associated with what is the purpose of the second temple. The new Jewish religion is now more Zoroastrianism and Asherah is not part of this.

        But the displacement of Asherah is one theme, and the royal priest-hood from the line of Melchizedek is another. The question to consider here is whether the two issues are co-related or separate. What we would need to consider is if the Zadokite priesthood of Honi’s dynasty are also supporters of the Queen of Heaven cult or not. I am not sure if this link has been demonstrated. I am not suggesting your theory depends on this, as we can consider that two separate groups have formed against orthodox Judaism for two different reasons. Having a common enemy they are likely to intermingle and merge. In fact, this possibility may explain the diverse nature of early Christianity.

        I think a dualistic origin to proto-christianity is worth considering. Both groups would share in common a dislike of the current priesthood and envision a priesthood ordained by God and hence an anointed leader, but their attitude to Asherah worship would divide them. Surviving Christian writings do not seem to suggest there is a major fault line on this issue, those that do not worship the Queen of Heaven are tolerant of those who do – ie Paul’s instructions on eating food offered to idols (are these the cakes for the Queen of Heaven?). This is quite a contrast to Paul’s attitude to those who want to follow Jewish law!

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      2. “Are we to assume that prior to this Josiah was a ‘good’ king who ignorantly worshipped Asherah alongside Yahweh?”
        1 Kings 12-16 gives insight into the contrasts between different rulers from Solomon on. The “conspiracy theory” I’m advocating here is that the real history was obfuscated to minimize the role of the queen of heaven within the temple and Orthodoxy.

        “I think this never happened…”
        My own sense is that much of the Old Testament is non-historical, including and up to the existence of Solomon’s temple. My only sense is that the earliest Christians believed these things did happen.

        “But the displacement of Asherah is one theme, and the royal priest-hood from the line of Melchizedek is another”
        There is a bit of a logical leap here, but not a huge one. 2 Kings 24 says that Jerusalem had been under the rule of wicked kings who did not observe the rule of Moses. On the flip side, we have 1 Enoch 93, who said that temple priests had lost spiritual vision and abandoned Wisdom (who was Asherah, and eventually became Sophia), which caused Solomon’s temple to be destroyed. We know from Psalm 110 that the Davidic kings were Melchizadek priests. The assumption I make here is that Josiah’s purge was the purge of Melchizadek priests – the religion of Abraham. We subsequently get the patriarchal God of Melchizadek, who was El was converted to Yahweh, who became El Elyon (most high) in Exodus 6:3.

        “I think a dualistic origin to proto-christianity is worth considering.”
        You’re probably right. I’m not sure we can isolate a single strain of Christianity which eventually branched out to the entire range…the Jamesians/Ebionites are always the problem here. They seem to have a completely different philosophical bent, which is why I think it’s so tempting to presume they’re at the root…then we can just follow Acts of the Apostles to get a rough picture of how Christianity developed. I just struggle to believe that, though…

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    2. “Chrestians and Chrestus” – are these Latin references to Nasoreans? If so, the first century proto-Christians have quite a bad reputation which needed some ‘brand management’ work.

      I think so, and it works for my theory…I sort of think that Egyptian Josephus mentions is the same Chrestus that Tacitus mentions. In this theory, the Chrestus/Egyptian escapes from Jerusalem and goes to Rome…of course, I can’t prove it, but I refer to Marcion in this case, who had his Christ as Esu Chrestos

      “I suppose then the final icing on the cake is to identify when the idea of Jesus being crucified on a cross in the time of Pontious Pilot came about.”
      A lot of early Christians struggled with this – even Irenaeus thought Jesus was nearly 50 when he died! I think this comes from the transient Christ and early adoptionism. Various traditions were feeding in. Remember that the Nazarenes were Ebionite v2, which means they probably had access to the earliest traditions. The earliest Jesus on earth tradition was that Jesus lived at the time of Jannaeus, and when he was killed on a tree, his Spirit bounced to someone else. The reason we end up with Pontius Pilate is (I think indirectly) because of Paul and Cephas, especially if we presume those two were between 35 and 75 (I also leave room for the assumption that people who were writing in their names believed themselves to be reincarnations of Paul and Cephas, eg Marcion and Cerinthus, respectively). Picking Pontius Pilate out of history was simply a device used by the proto-Synoptic author – he knew very little about Pontius Pilate, except what he’d read in Josephus. There is also confusion in this regard because, in the mind of Mark’s author, there were duplicate spheres that were just like Earth, except those spheres were a bit closer to heaven. So I think a lot of Mark is happening on one of those upper spheres, and that Simon of Cyrene was reborn in this realm.

      “Maybe we need to ask the question why so many mythicists are computer programmers (I am one myself!).”
      I think it’s because reconstructing the sects is sort of like reverse engineering inheritance in object oriented programming. Who inherited from whom? I see a lot of it like that, anyway…

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  2. Have you seen this? It looks interesting http://palpatinesway.blogspot.com/2018/02/jesus-and-roman-emperors-thoughts-on.html

    Probably, as no where else, Historical Jesus Studies are guilty of the “Possible ergo Probable” fallacy, concluding from the fact that a theoretical model fits the evidence that it therefore is “probably” true. This line of reasoning has produced an embarrassment of riches of historical Jesus portraits, such as Jesus as apocalyptic prophet, charismatic healer, Cynic philosopher, Jewish Messiah, prophet of social change, Mythical Being, etc. The models account for the evidence, and explain away any apparently recalcitrant evidence, and so are possible models for interpreting the scant evidence we have for the historical Jesus. But as Dr. Richard Carrier says in his book “Proving History,” possible doesn’t equal probable. In this regard, The Noble Lie Theory of Christian Origins is a novel take on a very old and continuing problem: trying to account for Christian origins given scant historical evidence. But that said, the theory does fit an interesting point about the context of the ancient Christian world: What might have been possible in a world where such things were happening like Christians thinking God approved of them forging epistles, and God in the Hebrew scriptures being depicted as a liar, and as sanctioning lies?

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    1. Getting at root characters is difficult, and I think historical Jesus studies are hindered by a desperate (sometimes) subconscious desire for there to be a single person at the root of the Gospel character. Trouble is there’s not a single person (although Matthew’s Jesus is arguably Jesus ben Pandira, a point I will make in a post I’ll publish today).

      I will have to read this article more closely. It looks pretty good! Thanks

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