A brief guide to the making of Jesus of Nazareth, the Greatest Man Who Never Was.
1. No one "just made-up" Jesus.
we step around the centuries of fabrication and glorification which
informs everyone's perception of Jesus Christ and closely examine the two hundred year gestation period
of the current Lord and Savior – that is approximately 100 BC - 100 AD –
we can see a perfectly plausible and, indeed, convincing process by
which, upon the legacy of earlier times and from piety and scripture alone, the Christian godman emerged into the light.
Beliefs created the man; the man did not create the beliefs.
In essence Jesus Christ is like every other ancient god, a personification of Principals and Forces. More than anything else, the figure of Jesus symbolized and personified Just Law, Divine Punishment and Reward.
The myth did not require the happenstance of a genuine human life to
get it going – which is one reason why, as a human being, the superhero
is at best only partially formed, even after passing through several
revisions and re-workings.
2. Evolving Hero myth
Jews, a repeatedly conquered people on the fringes of great empires,
long nurtured hope for a deliverer. Such heroes of the people were a
staple of their sacred literature. During the period 1st century BC /
1st century AD, whilst the Herodian aristocracy happily danced to the
tune of the caesars, exploitation of the common people intensified. Upon
their backs now weighed the priesthood, the landowning elite and the
Romans. The stage had been set in which rabbis and rebels could pitch
subversive ideas to the despised and exploited masses.
Jewish religious radicals – militant patriots within Palestine and
proto-Christians of the Jewish diaspora – contended for the future of
Judaism. In the Levant, militant resistance to Rome had the upper hand
until the final debacle of 135. In the diaspora, a repackaged piety
centered on a personal savior god eventually gained the ascendancy,
advancing with each successive reversal of belligerency and the
attendant flood of refugees and captive slaves into the cities of the
The early Jewish-Christian scribes drew
most of their inspiration from the traditional source – the vast stock
of Jewish sacred writings, which were (and are) a reiterating statement
of lost piety, divine punishment and righteousness regained.
earliest "Christ" reigned in Heaven at God's right hand. Nowhere was a
genuine human life to be found. Only at the End of Days would he arrive
to judge the quick and the dead. Only those who worshipped him, the
Elect, would enter the Kingdom.
3. Paganizing the Jewish Myth
in the Diaspora, for all its exclusivity, became Hellenized. It also
attracted a following among pagans disillusioned with their arbitrary
traditional gods. In the cities of the eastern Mediterranean, this neo-Judaism
fused a multiplicity of old Jewish themes – Son of Man, Wisdom and
Messiah with ideas long familiar to pagans: redemptive sacrifice, Son of
God, Logos. The farrago made little headway against a reorganizing
rabbinic Judaism but found a ready ear among pagans long accustomed to
Because heavenly existence remained
unknowable the handful of intellectuals who led the various bands of
early proto-Christians spoke of their Christ by use of an allegorical human life.
Set in times past, present and future, it was a device by which their
Lord resolved ethical issues and uttered divine Wisdom. Each worthy
tenet of a higher morality, every pithy statement of priestly wisdom,
was coupled to the majestic name of Jesus the Christ to give sanction
and assurance of its heavenly origin.
'rabbinic' Judaism made an impressive revival in the Roman world in the
2nd century. But by then the heresy now called Christianity had been
commandeered by gentile pagans who saw opportunity in a hybridized
oriental cult with a strong Jewish core. They took the stock of Jewish
scripture, long available in the Greek language, and set it to a new
4. Allegory mutates into "reality"
earliest works on the Christian godman had been simple liturgical
documents in which the figure of Jesus had no discernible features, no
true biography – merely attributes befitting his messianic status, such
as absolute assuredness and "authority". A new generation of ex-pagan
scribes, convincing themselves that this Lord and Savior had in reality walked upon the earth, set to work to thoroughly ground their hero in an historical setting.
selected the reign of the most famous Jewish king – Herod – for his
birth and the tenure of the most brutal Roman governor – Pilate – for
his ministry. The activity of a genuine, pacifist prophet – John the
Baptist – was used as a prologue to their hero's own tale and useful
historical detail was gleaned from the works of the Jewish historian
Scavenging through the pious romances and
holy heroics of Hebrew scripture and Jewish history the Christian
scribes found edifying story lines and useful characterization. Their
intent was that, in the day-to-day struggle for a mass following, their
Christ should match rival gods point for point, miracle for miracle.
Even so, Christ's "life" remained extremely thin. His "ministry" and
wonder working filled only eight weeks or so of "biography" – and that
included 40 days and nights in the wilderness.
good the shortage of material, Christ's so-called "life" was
back-projected as the "fulfillment of prophecy" – art imitating
artifice. On the pretext "That Scripture Might Be Fulfilled"
every utterance and pronouncement of the ancient Jewish prophets was
wrenched out of context and repurposed as a prefiguring of the Christian
To those who already "believed" it was
the majestic design of an ineffable God, weaving the wondrous image of
his only begotten son across several centuries of Jewish history. The
misadventure and internecine strife of an entire people were reduced to
the prologue for the Christian godman.
that resulted – ambiguous, inconsistent, improbable and impossible –
though never intended as a "history", nonetheless masqueraded as such,
underpinning the claims of the faith to a unique historical foundation.
But any attempt to reconstruct the timetable or itinerary of the
"ministry" of the Christian savior is doomed to failure because the
gospels are both inadequate and contradictory. One moment Jesus is in
the Decapolis, receiving word of the death of John the Baptist, the next
he is in Phoenicia expelling demons. One moment Jesus is
"transfiguring" on a mountain in Syria, the next he is pontificating in
5. It's All a Fraud
instance in the godman's "career" was nothing other than a set piece,
templated from an earlier source. Jesus the Christ, King of Kings, Light
of the World, High Priest forever, Good Shepherd, Universal Judge and
the Savior of Mankind is nothing less than – nothing other than – an
omnibus edition of all that had gone before, the final product of
ancient religious syncretism.
A 'life' conjured up from
pious fantasy, a mass of borrowed quotations, copied story elements and
a corpus of self-serving speculation, does not constitute an historical
It constitutes a myth, a hero-myth, in
essentials no different from the legends of champions that times of
crisis called into existence in many cultures. "Jesus Christ Lord and Savior"
is certainly the most convoluted and enduring of such accretions but
its fabrication from simple elements is no less apparent than that of
any other west Asian salvation god.
Makes You Think
If all this sounds shocking and difficult to accept reflect on the following:
1. Absolutely nothing at all
from secular history corroborates the sacred biography and yet this
'greatest story' is peppered with numerous anachronisms, contradictions
and absurdities. For example, at the time that Joseph and the pregnant
Mary are said to have gone off to Bethlehem for a supposed Roman census,
Galilee (unlike Judea) was not a Roman province and therefore ma and pa
would have had no reason to make the journey.
2. Nazareth (let alone a city of Nazareth) did not exist during the first century.
3. Many elements of the 'Passion' make no sense historically. For example, a trial for Jesus, when suspected rebels were habitually arrested and executed by the Romans without trial?
There is NO corroborating evidence for the existence of the 12 Apostles
and absolutely NO evidence for the colorful variety of martyrs' deaths
they supposedly experienced. The Bible itself actually mentions the
death of only two apostles, a James who was put to death by Herod Agrippa and the nasty Judas Iscariot. The fanciful heroics were dreamed up to inspire generations of gullible Christians.