Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Whispering Grass 3 - The Man the world calls Jesus.

There is strong historical evidence supporting there was a man Christians call Jesus. Even if it highly improbable he was named as such, at least, one man fitting his profile, possibly two, maybe more,  was alive in that region and at that time in history. We have historian Josephus, active during the occupation of Judea circa AD 26-36, recorded documentation of events. These journals have been disputed by some as having been interfered with and by Christian's eager to present the man as Messiah. These forgeries, much like the Turin Shroud, only go as far as to underline the fact that somebody did give rise to the biblical tales. Most scholars agree that there was someone upon which the legends are built, a historical figure around whom the myths are based. Not only Josephus but also Tacitus who wrote this...

"Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired. Nero offered his gardens for the spectacle and was exhibiting a show in the circus while he mingled with the people in the dress of a charioteer or stood aloft on a car. Hence, even for criminals who deserved extreme and exemplary punishment, there arose a feeling of compassion; for it was not, as it seemed, for the public good, but to glut one man's cruelty, that they were being destroyed."- Tacitus.

With this, I am in total agreement. There was a Jesus. Forgeries to one side along with the unlikely and confused signals given credence by those seeking a goodly soul to follow, it is the bone hard facts that filter through all the detritus that makes me believe that a Hebrew prophet, unscholarly if not unlearned, led a group, possibly as many as one hundred strong with whom he shared his wisdom, his frustrations, his anger against the Roman occupation. 
 "Surely it is the maxim of loving-kindness, do not unto others that which you would not have done unto you." - Analects, Lun-yu XV, 23, from the Confucian tradition, circa 500 BC.

It is called the Golden Rule and is practised by virtually all religions Monotheistic or otherwise. I think it highly likely that Jesus would have heard this wisdom, passed down through the ages and across the continents from China to The Middle-East. It is not at implausible for merchants and traders carrying their wares to sell in far-flung lands to have passed on the words of those they saw as wise. Nor indeed, for the son of a labourer to have elicited their wisdom  before extolling its virtues to those that followed him. It remains the cornerstone of all faiths.A thing to mull over is this, knowing events is one thing, understanding the psyche of those who recorded them and why they wrote in the manner they did, is another. The Hebrew scriptures were first translated into Greek, then Latin before being translated into regional languages. What one word written in Hebrew meant before being incorrectly translated into Greek has had a massive impact on both religion and history. Evidence reveals that what was thought of as 'virgin' was in fact 'with child.' There was no virgin birth.

Quite when not why, Jesus became the son of a 'virgin birth' and then a 'divinity' is beyond me. Why would you want to elevate the every day to such lofty heights? When you had a man, flawed like you or I yet carrying such wisdom alongside such rage, why would you want to furnish him with beatification? Was not the earth-born man not good enough?
Okay, he was a little aggressive but then again his homeland had been invaded and occupied by another nation, a dictatorial state whose punishments were severe even if their acceptance of other faiths was sanguine. Of course, Jesus was angry. Who wouldn't be?  

"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.” - Matthew 10:34-27.  
I, and many like me, dislike the way the modern world has turned to Mammon. Banks and industry run our lives. We have little say in how  State Capitalism is run. Those we elect offer no securities, no regulations preferring we adopt Hayek's principles of allowing free reign for the marketplace. I am unhappy at such inaction. I cannot see how we can create a functioning machine, set it to work for us and then walk away granting in liberty for it to do as it wants. I see no common sense in that. Did we not rise out of serfdom by creating the Industrial Revolution? It strikes me all we have done is remove one set of shackles, those of the common serf, and replace them with another, the Servile State. Jesus too disliked this arrogance.     
"And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. He said to them, “It is written, My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.”  Matthew 21:12–13  
You cannot argue with that can you?  
I like this Jesus. I like his stance, his take on life. There is nothing saintly or divine about him. He is one of the people, a regular bloke. That is he was until prattling Paul turns up and makes a man into a monument, a totem of false deism. Man becomes God by virtue of time elapsing as the fictions of religion become legends.   
Jesus was a Jew, a Hebrew. He most likely had calloused hands, well I'd like to think so, drunk and ate too much, belched and broke wind when he shouldn't, had brothers and sisters, mother and father, aunts and uncles some of whom he would have loved and some he most likely didn't.

The history of such a man is vague but thoughts shared have indicated that this Hebrew Rabbi, a rebel by all accounts, "Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans; but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel," was possibly born Yehoshua Ben Yosef. It might equally have been Yeshu or Yeshua. It wouldn't, couldn't have been Jesus. That name is the Anglicised version passed down from various interpretations, from Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, Latin and so on. He was considered by many to have been a patriot, even a martyr to the cause of everything Judaic, and by others, depending on perspective, a revolutionary terrorist.
Yehoshua's mother might have been Miryam, again the name Mary is not of Hebrew origin, and he may very well have been Miryam's son but not Yosef's. Many historians think that Miryam's first husband died and, as was Hebrew custom, she then married her deceased husband's brother who raised Yehoshua as his own. It is also distinctly possible that one of his brothers, Yehuda, was in fact that Judas of popular myth.

Of course, what muddies everyone's waters, even Theologians (chapter on them to follow) is that inadequacies and inconsistencies of history at the time. For one thing, and something we all know is that at least twenty years elapsed before any documentation regarding the Messiah appeared. More than enough time for legends and myths to grow. Miryam was not a virgin. The translation is wrong. What the Hebrew rendition reads is that there was a woman 'with child.' There is, never was, any mention of that woman, Miryam, being a virgin. The error made was one of translation, of mistaking one Hebrew word and inserting the wrong Greek interpretation.
There were more than twelve disciples. There were perhaps as many as one hundred. The Bible does not: cannot agree on how many there were. Different stories within the text vary from twelve to fifteen. The reason twelve is mentioned so often, and by Jesus, is a messianic symbol referencing the twelve tribes of Israel. You have to remember that all the texts that debate this, and yes these can be read, are something like seventy years after the event. These Messianic analogies are part and parcel of the fabric of Judaic faith. They were, are vital to that persuasion. Jesus was to be the new King, head of the twelve tribes. He indicates to a select few those who might be seated on thrones that would form this new Israel. This is not indicative of how many disciples there were. Hebrew writing dripped with symbolism.
Another thing we often forget what with the veil of deceit that has been drawn from these sacred texts is that many of the disciples of Jesus were female. Evangelists fog over this. It is clear from all the scriptures that women were among his chosen and it was only when men flee persecution as the Roman's exact punishment that those females come forward.
There can be no doubt that a man, perhaps Yehoshuah or Yeshu or Yeshua, whom we call Jesus was crucified. He was horribly tortured before being buried.  It isn't until the third century do we get the hokum of resurrection. Why is this? Why does this incredible man need elevating to such disproportionate levels? The only answer I can think of is once again that of power. When dealing with primitives, you need to wield something apocalyptic to astound them by, certainly men in this time, in this region. Dead men walking is one way of ensuring you, at least, get attention.
When the scriptures started out it was from a Hebrew perspective. This changed when translated by Greeks who divided Gods from mortals, earth from heaven. They thought and wrote of two distinctly different realms and believed that flesh and the soul existed on entirely different planes.

When Mark, the first disciple to write of Jesus some seventy years after the so-called Messiah's death, he described the baptism as being when the 'spirit of God' entered the man of Jesus. This to me describes an epiphany, a moment of realisation that there is something bigger than Jesus, something beautiful and loving and that this spirit, not having a better understanding or vocabulary, must be Yahweh, must be God. It isn't until we get that angry rogue Matthew, whose prose was forever purple which undoubtedly matched certain body parts, that Jesus received God into him as birth.  
"Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” - Martin Luther King junior
For me, Jesus is an everyday man, a bloke. Someone who disliked the Roman rule who sought change and a home rule. There is nothing to be gained, apart from power, to have him as anything but a man. He was not a god, not a deity. His mother was not a virgin, the virtual translation got it wrong. What it says in Hebrew before anyone altered it was that a woman was 'with child.'  

None of these facts defeats the idea of Jesus. Whatever the history, whatever the truth, Jesus is now the symbolic paragon of all we extol as both virtuous and good. He is, in reality, a concoction of a multitude of characters, many of whom they are grave doubts about, their existence anyway, and these are Buddha, Confucius, Lao Tzu and the rest. 
The myth of Jesus is now the epitome of what any sane person would want to be and as near perfect a human being as is conceivable. Being brought up as a Christian, if only for a few short years, gave me, through conditioning, a set of values that later in life I examined. I explored other ways and found none that really suited or made any sense to me at least not any one faith on its own. Jesus is the embodiment of all I see as holy even if he was never such a thing. The only pity is that such a man has yet again been hijacked by religion, like a bone caught between two dogs jaws, and then tugged at for sovereignty. I like the fellow as he really was warts and all.

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A Utility Fish Shed Blog